St Mary's church, Upton on Mersey

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Buzz Aldrin: "As man probes into space..."

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Buzz Aldrin

 

Having just arrived on the surface of the moon, Buzz Aldrin remembers his faith.

 

"Now Neil and I were sitting inside Eagle (the Lunar Module), while Mike circled in lunar orbit, unseen in the black sky above us. In a little while, after our scheduled meal period, Neil would give the signal to step down the ladder onto the powdery surface of the moon. So I unstowed the elements in their flight packets. I put them and the scripture reading on the little table in front of the abort guidance system computer.

 

Then I called back to Houston.

 

'Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.'

 

For me this meant taking communion. In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.

 

I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. 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.

 

And so, just before I partook of the elements, I read the words which I had chosen to indicate our trust that as man probes into space we are in fact acting in Christ.

 

I sensed especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and with the Church everywhere.

 

I read: '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.'"

 

Buzz Aldrin ws part of the first lunar landing of Apollo 11, 40 years ago in 1969

with Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins.

He is an elder in the Presbyterian church in Texas.