Communion on the moon
On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The fact that Buzz Aldrin also celebrated the Lord’s supper on the moon was not made public.
Before stepping out onto the moon Aldrin radioed the space centre control, and asked for a few moments of silence, to ask everyone listening to pause for a moment and give thanks for the successful landing. During this time Aldrin read from the book of John:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” He poured wine into a miniature chalice and celebrated communion.
In 1970, Aldrin told Guideposts magazine “In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.” Neil Armstrong the other astronaut onboard, did not participate.
Aldrin had wanted the celebration to take place on air but NASA was not happy about it. A few months earlier, Apollo 8 astronauts had broadcast the story of the creation from the book of Genesis “In the beginning God created ….. and there was light”. As a result, NASA was sued on the grounds that astronauts were public servants and the reading breached the separation of church and state. The case was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Later Aldrin wrote, “Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind—be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists. But at the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo 11 experience than by giving thanks to God.”
The Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, where Aldrin was an elder, gave him the bread, wine and the miniature chalice, and they still celebrate the lunar communion on the Sunday nearest to 20th July.
Contact St Cuthbert's Church