Fifty years ago, July 20, 1969, something invisible but game-changing occurred.
It was invisible to our world on Earth, yet invaluable within our spiritual universe. Fascinatingly, Jesus was the focus among the first spoken words by man upon landing the moon.
Yes, before Neil Armstrong declared the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, who soon would become the second man to walk on the moon, celebrated the first Lord’s Supper on the moon by reading a passage from the Book of John that he had written out on a 3×5 card.
“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
Then, Aldrin took out the miniature chalice, bread and wine from his personal allowance pouch.
“I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me,” he told Guideposts magazine in 1970. “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.”
Aldrin was being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s urging for him to utilize his unique privilege as an Apollo astronaut to remember Jesus and share the amazing life giving “Love of Jesus” with the world. Several applications, for our lives, come to mind from thinking about the Holy Communion and the redemptive victory Jesus purchased for us.
Communion is an act of remembrance of Jesus. “The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread. …” — (1 Corinthians 11: 23).
Yet, like Jesus, who took the first Communion after He was betrayed, we must first forgive others as Jesus forgave to receive the fruits the Lord intends for us.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” — John 15:12
Second, the Apostle Paul reasons in ensuing verses, there are believers who will go to Heaven only to find out they reduced the act of Communion to a religious ritual. In doing so they removed the most significant tool from the toolbox that Jesus placed into their lives to bring divine health and healing to them while on earth.
Third, the act of Communion is for believers to enjoy on Earth.
“By His wounds, we have been healed.” — 1 Peter 2:24
Intriguingly, Jesus asks us to remember Him with heartfelt thanks for the purpose of opening our hearts to receive a gift of immense value He has graciously given to us. This game-changing gift from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. This righteousness cannot be earned. It is a pure gift that you receive “through faith in Jesus Christ.” — Romans 3:22
The Apostles Peter and Paul encourage believers to remember that Jesus already made full and complete payment for the health of our spirit, soul and body. His purpose each time we participate in Communion is to help us affirm His powerful provision; which we call upon through the precious blood of Jesus in the divine moments of Communion.
Aldrin desired to share the amazing life-giving “Love of Jesus” with the world. Jesus’ power is immense, regardless of when, where or how it is expressed. The verses of John that Aldrin selected to read for Communion on the moon go on to say that if you stay close to Jesus (“remain in Him”), three things will happen in terms of our fruitfulness. First, our prayers will be answered (v.7). Second, God will be glorified (v.8). Third, our joy will be complete and overflowing (v.11).
Aldrin intended that the act of Communion be transmitted from the moon to the Earth so that God would be glorified. Yet, NASA superiors overruled him, and the celebration of Communion was performed privately within the Lunar Module resting on the moon’s surface.
Nonetheless, in the immortal words of Dante “Jesus is the Love that moves the sun and other stars.”
Perhaps, Aldrin‘s obedience to acting privately in Communion, 240,000 miles from Earth, unleashed spiritual forces across the universe that produced a complete and overflowing joy experienced by billions of believers over the past 50 years.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that as a result of your gift of righteousness by faith in Jesus we receive peace, forgiveness, freedom, healing and cleansing through the blood of Jesus. We give thanks for the amazing privilege you have given to believers to pass along this powerful message of good news that transforms lives, communities and cultures. Amen.
Jeff Anderson is servant pastor of SERV Kerrville, a nonprofit collaborating with community partners to empower lifelong learning. He can be reached at jeff@ServKerrville.com.