Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died last week at age 82. He spoke some of the most famous words of the space program. After piloting the Lunar Module in its cliffhanger of a landing, with only 25 seconds of fuel remaining upon set down, he said: “Houston: Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” When he stepped onto the moon’s surface six hours later, on July 20, 1969, he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” intending to say, “That’s one small step for a man.” ‘About three months shy of 20 years old at the time; I was watching the television broadcast with 600 million other people, nearly a fifth of the world’s population. I also recall that seven months earlier, on the first manned mission to the moon, NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders read from the first chapter of Genesis when they entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. Anders said, “For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.” He then read Genesis 1:1-4, followed by Lovell reading verses 5-8, and Borman reading verses 9-10. Borman concluded, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you--all of you on the good Earth.” It wasn’t a gospel message by any means, and we don’t know to what extent they actually believed, or interpreted literally, what they were reading, but the fact remains that three NASA astronauts read from the first chapter of the King James Bible that memorable evening in an official global broadcast. That was only 44 years ago, but it was a different America and a different time. What will the next 44 years bring if Jesus’ tarries? Lift up your eyes, brethren, for the hour is very late!
(Friday Church News Notes, August 31, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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