Is there anyone amongst us who actually saw on TV or listened on the radio when Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969?
I think regardless of whether you were an American or not, when the spacecraft Apollo 11 landed on the moon, it was a momentous occasion for every human being. Neil Armstrong was right when, as he walked on the moon, he said the famous words “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Another fascinating and perhaps not so well-known first about the Apollo 11 mission, is that it was the first and maybe the only time, that Holy Communion was celebrated on the moon or in space for that matter. Buzz Aldrin, who was on the same mission as Neil Armstrong, was an elder at a Presbyterian Church in Texas – and as a Christian, he took communion as a means of giving thanks to God for the success of the mission.
Even though I had the privilege of seeing the Command Module that was used on Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum in the US, I cannot claim to have seen the actual event with my own eyes. In 1969, I was not even a twinkle in my father’s eye, nor were many of us here.
But we can all be witnesses of the landing of man on the moon. Why? Because we have read it in books, we have heard it on radio, we have seen the videos on TV and the pictures on the internet. Some of us have seen the physical evidence of the spacecraft that were used and have heard the testimony of the astronauts who walked on the moon themselves.
So we can, by all accounts, be rightly considered true and faithful witnesses of the Apollo 11 mission because we know the story and can accurately tell it to others.
And in the same way, we are invited to be true and faithful witnesses of an even greater event. We may not have been there when Christ was crucified almost 2000 years ago, but we are witnesses of his death, resurrection and the forgiveness of sins which he won for sinners on the cross.
Therefore the first call on your life this morning is for you to Witness the Death of Jesus Christ, just as he proclaimed his disciples to have been in verse 48.