October 13, 2014

In Their Own Words XV: Light Side of The Moon

My previous post revolved around the spiritually misguided astronaut Edgar Mitchell who firmly but erringly believed in a Pantheistic god. This of course is in complete night and day contrast to Buzz Aldrin of the Apollo 11 fame. Apollo 11 of course gave mankind their first footsteps on the lunar surface. Although it is nearly forgotten today or purposely ignored and covered up, one of first acts performed in the Apollo 11 landing module after first landing on the Moon was the Lord’s Supper. Communion folks! Communion on the moon! 

It turns out Buzz Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston. It was Webster’s Presbyterian Church that had given the elements of communion to Buzz that he used in (ironically) the Sea of Tranquility. The God and Science website gives the following report about what happened to Buzz Aldrin in the radio black-out after the landing.
“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture: I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute Deke Slayton had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hair, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly...”
It is interesting to note that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there were the communion elements. Symbolic of Jesus’ sacrifice back on Earth at Calvary. The symbolic gesture of Christ's body and blood had made it to the Moon. It was done in a place called the Sea of Tranquility while the nation that sent Aldrin was in the midst of two horrible wars. One was a military war and the other was cultural as evidenced by things like the lawsuit by Madelyn Murray O'Hair, sexual revolutions and the protest/riots back home.

Even in the middle of the storm there is God's grace. God has a perfect sense of timing and irony. As spiritual and earthly wars raged on Earth, there was a moment of peace on the lunar surface in an aptly named lunar plain. As for Aldrin’s Christian actions on the lunar surface he would later go on to state in relation to his celebration of the Christian sacraments…
“…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." ~ Buzz Aldrin-Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon. p. 27, 2009
It is unique that Buzz Aldrin as a believer had physically traveled the farthest from the empty tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem yet kept the truth of it close to heart. He had litrerally taken the Gospel to the edge of the cosmos thereby fulfilling the Great Commission on his mission. Buzz Aldrin's life was in the process of fulfilling two momentous missions. Jesus' from Matthew 28:19-20 and then NASA's. What we saw in his celebration of the sacraments is that God isn't at a distance at all, He is Immanuel...God with us regardless of where we are. In Aldrin's own way he had shown that Jesus is sovereign not only over Earth but wherever His Spirit dwells…even if the Holy of Holies was on the Lunar Surface that day in July of 1969. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ~ “…or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

I believe spiritually what we see is when a man has his heart in the right place, he is a man that is tranquil and at peace with God and his surroundings. This is the case even in the inhospitable environment of space. He is a man that at least tries to maintain his obedience to the truth and in that fact there is glory. A man with his heart in the wrong place forever spirals in a void cut adrift from the proper mooring point in God. He searches even into the latter stages of his life. He seeks but never truly finds what he is looking for. A man whose orbit around God degrades is in danger of forever being lost in the darkness like a capsule jettisoned into the cold vacuum of space. As is the case with the other astronauts that did not accept Christ's redeeming gift of grace, the moon or Earth's orbit may have been the closest any of the them would get to Heaven physically or spiritually.

The spiritual fact is simple. God does not save us to cut us adrift on open seas or the vacuum of space. He saved us to bring us into redemptive fellowship with Himself. He wants to bring us into a very tight circle around Himself in worship. Then paradoxically, as our orbit tightens around the One True God we end up leaving the world behind us, not draw ourselves closer to it. Conversely, those that reject the offer to be grafted into the Vine or to dock with our divine destination are in danger of forever drifting in a godless void.

I've included a scene above from the miniseries From The Earth To The Moon; Mare Tranquilitatus-Episode 6 which reenacts this momentous event on the lunar surface. Yes, that is Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame playing Buzz Aldrin.

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