Giant steps are what we take, walking on the moon
I REMEMBER watching the Apollo 11 moon landing with my parents. On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon and at the time I wondered how the third astronaut, Michael Collins, felt as he circled the moon in the command module on his own. As he orbited above, he was the most solitary human in the universe, out of touch with Ground Control for 48 minutes on each orbit and 240,000 miles from Earth.
How did he feel about getting so close to the moon but not being able to walk on it? Folk remember Armstrong and Aldrin, but do they remember the less famous third member of the crew? These thoughts have often crossed my mind when films or features on the first moon landing have been in the media.
Michael Collins died recently on 28 April 2021 aged 90. In one of his obituaries, I read a quote from him when he said, half-jokingly, he was “the navigator, the guidance and control expert, the owner of the leaky plumbing – all the things I was least interested in doing”. Buzz Aldrin also thought he was probably Nasa’s best trained Command Module Pilot. In fact, his role was essential for the successful completion of the mission, as were the roles of Armstrong as Commander and Aldrin as Lunar Module Pilot. All three had equally important but different roles to play and they worked together as a team.
It is the same for us, in terms of our roles in the church and in the Kingdom of God. God has a unique and important purpose for each one of us. He equips us with different gifts and measures of ministry, faith and grace (Romans Chap 12, verses 3-8) as He calls us to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians Chap 5, verse 20) to minister His love to others through our words and actions. Each of the Apollo 11 astronauts had responsibility to focus on their unique roles, in order to achieve all they set out to do. It is the same for us.
What we achieve for God as His ambassadors may never be recorded in the history books, but we will leave a legacy of eternal value. So let me encourage you to see and to realise how important you are to God, and how important the purpose He has for your life is – in the life of the church, in the lives of family and friends, and in the wider community. Let me encourage you to focus on that calling (1 Peter Chap 4, verses 10-11) because when you do you will enrich the church (God’s people) and minister God’s love to people in the wider community.
Keith Saynor, Pastor, Grace Church Caversham