Today 40 years ago Buzz Aldrin had the first communion on the Moon. I am delighted that Rev. Mark Cooper, the senior pastor of Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, TX, wrote to this site in response to my post:
I have the honor of serving as senior pastor of Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, TX. At the time of the lunar landing Aldrin was an elder in our church. A communion kit was prepared for him by the church’s pastor at the time, the Rev. Dean Woodruff. Since Presbyterians do not celebrate private communion, the communion on the moon was structured as part of a service with the congregation back at the church. Aldrin returned the chalice he used to earth. Webster Presbyterian continues to possess the chalice, which is now kept in a safety deposit box. Each year the congregation commemorates the lunar communion on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the landing.
While we have to confess some pride in his being a Presbyterian (at least at the time – I don’t know anything about his affiliation now, if any) communion is certainly not solely a Presbyterian ritual. The Presbyterian communion table is open to all Christians. We call it “communion” because in it we commune with God and with all our brothers and sisters in faith, in all times and places and of all names. Aldrin did not take communion on the moon as a Presbyterian so much as he did as a Christian. We Presbyterian, even we Webster-type Presbyterians, do not own lunar communion. The communion on the moon belongs to us all. It can, and should, serve as a powerful symbol of God’s presence everywhere, and of our unity as one family of faith.”
The image shows the original card with the words “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.” (John 15:5) and “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained; What is man that thou art mindful of him? And the Son of Man, that thou visitest Him?” (Psalm 8:3-4). This card sold in an auction two years ago for nearly $US 180,000
Just for fun – don’t watch it if you have no sense of humour:
Some possible blessings for an anniversary service:
Seek the One who made the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, the sun, the moon, the planets in their courses, and this earth, our home and may the blessing of God… (BCP TEC USA adapt)
Seek the One who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth, and the blessing… (Amos 5:8)