I'm wondering how many of you have been as intrigued as I have been watching and reading accounts of the moon landing which took place 50 years ago. I imagine many of you can remember where you were when Neil Armstrong proclaimed,
"this is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!"
Fifty years ago, the summer of 1969, was a tumultuous time, and a time that shaped my destiny. That summer was dubbed the Summer of Unrest as race riots continued to flare up. The hippies gathered at Woodstock, peacefully, and America was declared the winner of the space race with the Soviet Union.
Another seminal event that was personal to me was that I completed catechism class at the Auburn Presbyterian Church and I placed my hands on my own Bible for the first time. Rev. William Heimach inscribed these words to a very young me:
Dear Neal-I hope you will take some time each day from football, basketball, etc. to read a few verses in this Bible. It will prove to be an incomparable guide and influence. May God keep you well in body, mind and spirit. Your friend and minister, Rev. Heimach. 1 Corinthians 9:24
The Bible passage says this: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
In a most mysterious fashion, the blessing of Rev. Heimach and the blessing of Neil Armstrong fused in my soul. This striving to win the race, the running to get the prize always includes God. Faith and science don't have to be at odds. The Russian astronaut, Yuri Gargarin , mocked faith when he looked out his capsule window and stated, "I see no God up here!" in 1961.
Eight years later, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins provided a very different view. More on that next week.
In 1969, whether it was foot prints on the moon or my finger prints on my first Bible faith in God was both awesome and mysterious!