Jerry Newcombe: Bread and Wine Was the First Meal on the Moon

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon, a major milestone in human history. As Neil Armstrong noted, as he stepped on the lunar surface, “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the moon, as they explored it for some 21 hours.

What was the first meal on the moon? It may surprise you to know that it was bread and wine in a one-person celebration of the Lord’s Table. As Neil Armstrong respectfully looked on, fellow Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin marked the incredible occasion by celebrating Holy Communion—communing between him and God. This was before they stepped out of the “Eagle,” the lunar module, to walk around on the moon.

In the October 1970 issue of Guideposts magazine, Aldrin tells of the experience: “For several weeks prior to the scheduled lift-off of Apollo 11 back in July, 1969, the pastor of our church, Dean Woodruff, and I had been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing.”

Buzz Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in the greater Houston area. Pastor Woodruff told him that, “God reveals Himself in the common elements of everyday life.” That would include bread and wine, the elements of the Lord’s Table, a celebration of Christ’s death on behalf of sinners.

The idea of communion on the moon was Aldrin’s. He writes: “I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing Himself there too, as man reached out into the universe. For there are many of us in the NASA program who do trust that what we are doing is part of God’s eternal plan for man. I spoke with Dean about the idea…and he was enthusiastic.”

They decided that while Aldrin served himself communion on the moon, his church back home on earth would be participating in communion at roughly the same time.

But, even though he was an elder, would he have permission from the church to serve himself the elements? Pastor Woodruff inquired of the stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly and received a swift okay.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon on the afternoon of Sunday, July 20, 1969. Astronaut Mike Collins was circling at that time, in the words of Aldrin, “in lunar orbit, unseen in the black sky above us” in the command module, while Armstrong and Aldrin were in the lunar module.

On my radio show, I spoke about this little-known incident of the first meal on the moon with Bill Federer, historian and bestselling author. Said Bill, “Buzz Aldrin was such a famous astronaut that the Toy Story character was named after him, Buzz Lightyear.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jerry Newcombe