I was part of a dozen or so gathered in the second floor TV room of the men’s dormitory at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, that summer of 1969. We watched the slightly fuzzy images of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander Module in total silence. This was not just an historic occasion in the making; it was also filled with intense danger. Would they crash-land? Would they sink into a heavy moon dust? Could a man really walk around on the moon in a space suit? Would they be able to lift back off the moon, dock with the capsule and return to Earth safely? Would President Kennedy’s dream for the decade be fulfilled? Then we heard the words, “The Eagle has landed.”
With Neil Armstrong’s death this past week our world lost a true hero. In a world of self-promotion and the monetization of fame, Neil Armstrong ignored the temptations and lived true to himself. Interviews and public appearances were rare. He lived humbly and well, embracing his love of physics and teaching. There is a debate about what Neil Armstrong said. He claims he said, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” We all heard it differently. I bet Armstrong’s version is true.
The dream of going into outer space and the endless possibilities for people to achieve impossible dreams have been with me since the days of Buck Rogers, Captain Midnight and all things Star Trek. The Bible is filled with the glory of the heavens above, starting on the first page. Apparently since the beginning, people have been enthralled with the night sky and dreaming about what it would be like on the moon or to see a star close up. I am probably not going for a walk on the moon like Neil Armstrong. But that does not prevent me from celebrating the Creator of the universe, imagining a better future, and reaching for impossible goals and dreams. I believe we are created to explore and discover. Today a vehicle named “Curiosity” is exploring the Red Planet. I wonder who will be first to step on Mars.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Keep looking up. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.