The Bread and the Cup

September 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died recently and his memorial service was held this past week. The three-man team on that Apollo 11 mission included Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.  Apollo 11 touched down on the moon’s surface on Sunday, July 20, 1969.

Did you know that the first meal eaten on the moon’s surface was the Lord’s Supper – Communion?  In just a moment I want you to read the firsthand account from Buzz Aldrin.  But first, let me tell you what you can expect tomorrow at FCCC.

You can anticipate that this Sunday we will take Communion together.  You say, “But Ronnie, we do that every Sunday.”  Yes we do but I’m asking you to come to the Lord’s Table this week with fresh and uncauterized spiritual senses where you invite the living God to meet you – to meet us – in a way that causes our hearts to burn, much like the experience on Emmaus Road (Luke 24:30-32).

I’m asking you to come early and eager this Sunday ready to receive, remember, renew and even to reconcile.  In our teaching time we will walk through 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and then we will observe Communion together.  Come hungry.  OK, here’s that first person account from Buzz Aldrin about Communion on the moon …

“On the day of the moon landing, we awoke at 5:30am Houston time. Neil and I separated from Mike Collins in the command module. Our powered descent was right on schedule, and perfect except for one unforeseeable difficulty. The automatic guidance system would have taken Eagle to an area with huge boulders. Neil had to steer Eagle to a more suitable terrain. With only seconds worth of fuel left, we touched down at 3:30pm.

Now Neil and I were sitting inside Eagle, 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. Now was the moment for communion.

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 invite each person listening, 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.”

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” (John 15:5).”

Photos of Buzz Aldrin’s handwritten notes are below:

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