Saturday, February 20, 2010

Holy communion on the MOON?

Did you know the first meal eaten on the moon was COMMUNION?

Here's part of the article I linked from the Washington Post, discussed by Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn (draw your own conclusions):
Aldrin's brief and private Christian service (Z: all it was was taking the wafer and the wine, not a 'service') never caused a flap, but it could have. Aldrin has said that he planned to broadcast the service, but NASA at the last minute asked him not to because of concerns about a lawsuit filed (later dismissed) by atheist Madelyn Murray O'Hare after Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas.

Here's more:
I asked Richard Mouw about provisions for self-serve communion. Mouw is president of Fuller Theological Seminary. He also is representing the Presbyterian Church-USA as co-chair of the official Reformed-Catholic Dialogue. Mouw's response: "For our Reformed theology, communion is something that necessarily takes place in a congregational context, with two requirements. It is tied to--accompanied by-- the preaching of the Word and it requires at least one elder assisting the minister. Two exceptions: chaplains in military and other settings are given a blanket approval to conduct a communion rite without an elder. And a minister and elder may bring the elements to a sick or shut-in person--with the understanding that this is an extension of the congregational rite that has recently taken place. There is simply no provision for a solitary self-serving of communion. It is difficult to think of a theological rationale even as an unusual event."

Even landing on THE MOOOOOOON? :-) What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Interesting Post Z, and an event I hadn't been aware of. I think if you've risked your life and are on the moon, you can devise any religious personal rite you wish.

It's the personal right of one person to express his faith anyway he want's and to carp about it, seems like an overreach if you ask me.

The astronauts must have had a greaat need to thank God for looking out for them and to pray for a safe homecoming.

O'Hare was a rabblerouser, and publicity seeker who was determined to shut down religious public expression.

Well too bad. If she sued they could have offered her a hearing on the moon which I'm sure to which she would surely had said no thanks.


Always On Watch said...

I had never heard of this until now.

As far as I'm concerned, landing on the moon was a miraculous event -- or akin to one.

Of course, it figures that threats from Madelyn Murray O'Hare prevented a broadcast. In my view, most Americans at the time would have had no problem with the Christian service or the broadcast thereof.

Chuck said...

It's a sticky issue because it pits the rites of the church against the whole reason behind the rites. I think too often religions (as in the organizations themselves) get too wrapped up in their rituals/rites and lose site of the reason they are doing them in the first place. In my mind his taking communion was to celebrate his faith and give thanks to God, should he really need an intermediary to do this?

As far as this Pris

If she sued they could have offered her a hearing on the moon which I'm sure to which she would surely had said no thanks

Without a helmet IMHO.

Linda said...

I wonder how anyone in their right mind could even go to the moon, look back and see this beautiful world, and not appreciate the Creator? What a special way to celebrate a momentous event.

As for MOH, she has met her Creator, and I'm sure she wishes she'd been more receptive when she was alive!

Opus #6 said...

It is interesting to learn of this hidden historical fact. I don't know about the theology of communion, so I will take your word for it. I was born Catholic, but they never taught me about elders and rules of that sort in Sunday school.

Beth said...

I am having a disagreement with a friend over religion and my conclusion is actually that if you belong to a church, you agree to follow their rules, if you don't then I think that church has the right to express how you are not conforming to their belief system. Just like the bishops were refusing John Kerry communion for being pro-choice, I think it is proper for the church to practice what they preach and disavow anyone who challenges it.

Faith said...

I hadn't heard this before. I think a simple prayer of praise and thanksgiving would have been more appropriate. That should have been controversial enough for Ms. O Hare. But Communion is a congregational observance.

Z said...

I think that a 'kit provided' this elder by 'his pastor' is a beautiful thing and means that the host was probably blessed in a church, rather an extension of that service, as the Presbyterian church advises.

I love the idea that this was the first thing eaten on the moon, personally.

ALL of your comments are thoughtful and insightful...thanks so much.

Oso said...

Hi Z,
I was in the neighborhood so thought I'd say hello.

As someone who needs xanax to fly, is uncomfortable in elevators and can't stand the feeling of looking over the edge of a tall building towards the street-being on the moon and seeing Earthlight would be terrifying and possibly exhilarating.

I would say taking Holy Communion would be an appropriate response to the situation for a Catholic. Going thru the prayer ritual and quoting from the Koran should be an equally valid response from a Muslim. Saying nothing regarding a Supreme Being would be appropriate for an atheist.

It's not like they had taken a road trip from San Jose to Stockton-they were on the moon!

Maybe if I didn't have faith in God I'd have a different perspective. Had they made it a focus of the story that would have been wrong so it's good they didn't.

Hey did they pass the collection plate I wonder?

Z said...

Hi, Oso...come to the neighborhood more often :-) Glad to have you here.

I sort of agree with you (I certainly do on elevators, by the way!)...but I guess that, since something like 85% of Americans profess to some form of Christianity, Communion's a bit more appropriate than a Muslim prayer. BUT, if done in private and if the astronaut were Muslim, a private islamic prayer would be his right, that's for sure.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

I think God was OK with it. He's more interested in the condition of your spirit than he is by following procedures.

beamish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beamish said...

Why do people who claim atheism (ask an alleged atheist to prove he truly is an atheist -- he can't without requiring you to unquestioningly take his word on faith) push their "non-beliefs" so much?

Madalyn Murray O'Hair was an idiot, and her idiocy was sanctioned by government far more extensively that any religious observance.

What's up with all the city halls in America with nothing, the symbol of atheism, on their front lawns?


Z said...

Beamish..."Madalyn Murray O'Hair was an idiot, and her idiocy was sanctioned by government far more extensively that any religious observance."

brilliant again...such perfect logic.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I didn't know the moon belonged to America. How did this become controversial in the first place?

"Without a helmet IMHO."

Chuck, too funny, and I agree.


Z said...

Leave it to you,, I'm pretty sure it doesn't belong to us any more than Afghanistan does because we're fighting there..but do NOT tell a liberal :-)