Houston, Tranquility Base Here…

… the Eagle has landed. With those words, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first American men on the moon, 45 years ago today, on July 20, 1969. Several hours later, after making suitable preparations, Neil Armstrong opened the hatch of the Eagle Lunar Module and descended down the stairs into history, setting foot on the moon with the now famous words, “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin followed shortly thereafter and became the second one to set foot on the lunar surface while Mike Collins, the command module pilot, circled the moon in orbit waiting for his two companions to complete their historic time on the surface.

The entire nation was caught up in the excitement of the event and among other things, the successful completion of this mission made good on President Kennedy’s challenge of years before – to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth, by the end of the decade (1960’s). Make no mistake – there were critics. Entire groups of people thought the whole thing had been faked and to this day, there are still those among us who fail to believe that we have ever been to the surface of the moon – much less having walked there and planted the American flag! In fact, while they were on the surface of the moon, President Nixon actually spoke with Armstrong, sending his congratulations to the lunar surface.

The landing on the moon was the culmination of years of space exploration and technical excellence. The Mercury astronauts (the original seven) were followed by the Gemini group and finally, the Apollo program. If you are old enough to remember, the nation suffered the tragic loss of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a capsule fire during a routine test at the beginning of the Apollo program, so the road to the moon was not without loss of life and extreme sacrifice on the part of many Americans.

Armstrong and Aldrin were busy during their time on the surface. They collected samples of moon rocks, planted the American flag and had about 2-1/2 hours outside the Lunar Module. They also left a plaque that said, “We came in peace, for all mankind.” In addition to all the other things that were accomplished, it is important to realize that this trip was bigger than Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. In fact, this Apollo mission was the first time that the names of the astronauts were not on the official patches of the crew. Remember, they came in peace… for everyone. Not just some people – for all people. And what makes this more incredible is that many people and nations didn’t contribute anything to the effort – and that was fine. We still went for everyone… all mankind.

Come to think of it – that’s the same thing that Jesus did. He came to earth for all mankind – to be the sacrifice for the the sins of everyone – one death – once and for all. And you can even say that He came in peace – not a king on a white horse, but a servant who came so everybody could have a relationship with God. Our verse for this evening is from John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” And that means everyone…

My encouragement this evening is to affirm that Jesus came for you and for me and for everyone else. Now there are many who have not and will not accept the free offer of eternal life, but that is not for us to judge. My prayer is that you will be appreciative of the fact that we serve a God of peace and one who through this day continues to hope that everyone will come to know Him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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