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Communion on the Moon

July 18, 2021

Apollo 11 Commander, Neil Armstrong, on the Moon (1969), Author NASA (PD as work product of federal govt.)

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

-Apollo 11 Commander, Neil Armstrong, taking mankind’s first step on the Moon (July 20, 1969)

Before Neil Armstrong took that momentous step onto the moon’s surface, another astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, privately took communion on the moon [1].

Aldrin – who helped develop the complex technology necessary for the mission (and would later inspire the Pixar character Buzz Lightyear in the movie “Toy Story”) – told the story in his book Return to Earth.

“[Pastor Dean Woodruff] often speaks at our church, Webster Presbyterian…about the many meanings of the communion service.

‘One of the principal symbols,’ Dean says, ‘is that God reveals Himself in the common elements of everyday life.’ Traditionally, these elements are bread and wine – common foods in Bible days and typical products of man’s labor.

One day while I was at Cape Kennedy working with the sophisticated tools of the space effort, it occurred to me that these tools were the typical elements of life today.

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…”

“I spoke with Dean about the idea as soon as I returned home, and he was enthusiastic…

I had a question about which scriptural passage to use… I thought long about this and came up at last with John 15: 5…

[After the moon landing and a 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…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’…

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 am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5).

[1]  The Patriot Post, “Moon Landing and Communion on the Moon” by William Federer, 7/22/19, .


From → Christian, Religion

  1. What a beautiful story! I remember the first moon landing very well, as I was a teenager at the time. Knowing that the taking of communion was the first thing man did on the moon, makes my memory even more special.

  2. What a wonderful story Anna. I love the depth of insight and character displayed by those men during that time period in history. I long to see that today.

  3. Such a moving post! Thank you, I don’t remember knowing this.

  4. A wonderful story, thank you for sharing, dear Anna. I wish you the best, Marie

  5. I didn’t know about this! I love that the first thing consumed on the moon was Communion.

  6. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji permalink

    Such a moving story👏👏

  7. Communion is special anywhere, any time, I guess the above was super-special. As parents/grandparents we love to celebrate Communion with our family, whenever and wherever possible. Imho, it’s one of the most under-estimated means of grace and fellowship around, especially among evangelicals.

    • Evangelicals do partake in communion less frequently than, for instance, Catholics. It is not the ritual which impressed me, in this instance, but the fact God was not forgotten despite the vastness of space and the array of new technology.

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  1. Communion on the Moon – Tonya LaLonde

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