We found a piece of treasure a couple of years ago, my brothers and I, as we rooted around the bedroom where we’d grown up.
There – long forgotten, at the bottom of a steamer trunk – was the front page of a newspaper dating to July, 1969.
The newsprint had yellowed a bit, but the headline had lost none of its power to stir our hearts and minds – even after almost 50 years:
Men Walk On Moon
The find launched some tender reminiscences of where we’d been that day, the Schroeder boys all huddled together – along with an assortment of cousins – on the living room floor at Grandma & Grandpa’s house. It’s become a moment forever etched in our minds – unchanging, like the human footprints now dotting a windless lunar landscape.
No doubt, the grown-ups were somewhere nearby on that long-ago day. But mostly, I recall the wonder of youth…reaching a critical mass in our sacred family space. Failure was not an option, at least not in our naïve little minds. We knew this moonshot would succeed; and the next one; and the next one, too.
Only lately have I come to appreciate just how daring the whole Apollo enterprise actually was – courtesy of several TV documentaries that tell the tale in greater detail than I recall from my youth: Sure, NASA had smart people running things, calculating things, deciding things. Even so, there was more than a little good fortune involved in the success of those moon missions.
“The Eagle has landed,” we heard from across a void of nearly 240,000 miles.
It was almost as if God had answered the world’s collective prayers on behalf of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
…until you consider how the Psalmist seems to have anticipated that very outcome, practically from the earliest days of recorded history.
When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place,
What are humans, that you are mindful of them? Mere mortals, that you care for them?
Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor!
Confidence – born of Wonder…born of Belovedness…born of Grace.
This is truly the right stuff – fueling (and blessing) not just the Apollo astronauts, but every worthy human endeavor.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.