Spiritual highlights during Apollo 11’s moon landing

Chuck Norris relates little-known religious observations during historic event

I read a fairly wide array of books and periodicals. One of the latter I really enjoy is the American Family Journal.

In the July 2019 issue, Associate Editor Rusty Benson interviewed Stephen McDowell, historian, prolific author and founder of Providence Foundation. It is a phenomenal interview on the founding of our nation.

Last week, I wrote my column titled, “In God We Must Trust.” Humbly speaking, it’s a must read, especially for those who might have missed it because of the holiday weekend. I believe patriot articles should be read all summer long and not just bottled up on July 4, especially since the Declaration of Independence was ratified in July and the engrossed copy signed on Aug. 2 (at least by the remaining delegates). We also celebrate our Constitutional birth on Sept. 17 – its 232nd anniversary this year.

Stephen McDowell’s interview almost reads as a sequel to my last column. I addressed the power of the role of God and religion in our republic. McDowell narrows the subject to discuss the role of Christianity and the Bible. Let me give you a few highlights.

In McDowell’s article, “Christianity and the Constitution,” he quotes a prestigious literary journal of 1867: “The American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit. This is true – true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”

That is why McDowell explained in his interview: “The power and form of the Declaration and the Constitution are biblical. Power being the underlying ideas that are reflected, and form, the structure of how our government was set up and flows out of those ideas.”

The Declaration begins by saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“Now that statement is full of biblical ideas. First, the founders recognized that absolute truth exists. Right and wrong, moral and immoral, legal and illegal – these emanated from a Creator,” McDowell said.

He added, “…the rulers, as well as the people, are subject to the laws. No man [or woman] is above the law. We are a self-governing republic in which power emanates from the people, who themselves are under the Creator.”

McDowell elaborated, “We live in God’s world, not in a made-up world of Karl Marx or Darwin or any other political philosopher. God created it to function based upon a set of physical and moral laws. If we violate His laws, we suffer the consequence. The Bible teaches that, and history confirms it.”

By quoting extensively from the founders, McDowell builds a case that we must return to our founders’ faith, civility and morality. They weren’t perfect, but they built our republic upon the bedrock of Christianity.

As our second president John Adams wrote to our third president Thomas Jefferson on June 28: “The general principles, on which the fathers achieved Independence, were the only principles in which, that beautiful assembly of young gentlemen could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united: and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence.”

Speak of great men of old and amazing patriots who had some pivotal sacred moments, I bet few students today learn that the crew of Apollo 11, whose moon landing we commemorate this week on its 50th anniversary (July 20), had themselves some profound Christian moments when they were up in space and particularly on the moon.

Some have religiously categorized astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin as the deist (Armstrong), the Christian (Aldrin) and the atheist (Collins) who went to the moon. But that’s an oversimplification.

The truth is, Armstrong was a Christian (not a Muslim, as some falsely reported), Collins was a nominal Episcopalian and Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church back in Houston.

Perhaps the most under-reported story about Armstrong’s faith concerned his visit to Israel following his historic trip to the moon, which is conveyed in Thomas Friedman’s award-winning book, “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (winner of the National Book Award).

The story goes that Armstrong was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they arrived at the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the Temple Mount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there.

“These are the steps that lead to the temple,” Ben-Dov told him, “so He must have walked here many times.”

Armstrong then asked Ben-Dov if those were the original stairs and Ben-Dov confirmed that they were indeed.

“So Jesus stepped right here,” Armstrong asked. “That’s right,” answered Ben-Dov.

To which Armstrong replied with this monumental statement: “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.” Wow!

Speaking of stepping on the moon, before Armstrong and Aldrin actually did, they made another historic step. While Collins stayed back in the lunar module, Armstrong looked on respectfully as fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin performed a communion ceremony before the two set foot on the moon.

 

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion. (Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion.
(Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

Former White House Special Counsel Charles Colson, who served under President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1970, once wrote a column about it, the details of which Armstrong confirmed.

Colson wrote, “What you may not know, however is that for many of the early astronaut heroes, the ‘right stuff’ included deep religious faith. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are best known as the first astronauts to land on the moon and take that ‘giant leap for mankind.’ But you probably don’t know that before they emerged from the spaceship, Aldrin pulled out a Bible, a silver chalice, and sacramental bread and wine. There on the moon, his first act was to celebrate communion.”

Buzz made the following announcement to Mission Control during that spiritual moment: “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, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.”

Aldrin reported later: “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 [Jesus’ words in John 15]: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’”

(That scripture reminded me of something I read earlier in Stephen McDowell’s interview: “Christianity has brought great blessing to mankind. … But if we remove the Christian faith and its principles, then we’re going to get worse and worse fruit. That’s what’s been happening the past century.”)

It is especially fitting and poignant that Aldrin also read Psalm 8:3-4 on the moon: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?’”

Aldrin later wrote in Guideposts magazine: “The very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church reported that: “Each year since 1969, Aldrin’s church, Webster Presbyterian, holds a Lunar Communion service to commemorate Buzz Aldrin’s celebration on the Moon.”

 

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

Speaking of sacred scripture, I just have to include what else I read on the website of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church about NASA, the Bible and the moon:

The Apollo Prayer League was a group of NASA engineers, scientists, administrators and astronauts. The League was headed by Rev. John Stout, a NASA Information Scientist and chaplain who worked closely with the astronauts and NASA personnel.

The Apollo Prayer League created a microfilm Bible and 300 microfilm copies were carried to the lunar surface. The microfilm is about 1.5 inches square, and yet contains all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible. These pages so small that they must be read under a microscope. This Lunar Bible is the only complete copy of the Bible to have flown to the surface of the Moon.

The microfilm Lunar Bible was flown on three Apollo missions. It was packed onboard Apollo 12 spacecraft, but was mistakenly left on the Command Module. It was then placed onboard Apollo 13, and was with the astronauts during their perilous return to Earth after the explosion of the Service Module. The Lunar Bible copies were finally carried to the Moon in the pocket of astronaut Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14.

I’d bet my Texas ranch that your child or grandchild wouldn’t learn the above sacred and historical facts today about the Apollo missions in any public school. How sad. So it’s going to take us patriots to get the word out. Please share this column with everyone you know during this 50th anniversary week of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/spiritual-highlights-during-apollo-11s-moon-landing/

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Author: Narrow Path Ministries

Non-denominational, Independent, Bible believing Church

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