Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THYME Magazine: Neil Armstrong Interview II

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XV

"We Choose to Go to the Moon..."

Last week we presented a rare Interview with Neil Armstrong [click to view]. If you have not had a chance to watch it in its entirety, please do so. It is a refreshing look at the fulfillment of great human aspiration from the perspective of the very humble man who did it! Alex Malley is refreshing in his open style of interview and he allows Neil Armstrong to be seen as the man he is. There is no drive to sensationalize or twist the story, rather one sees how Armstrong rose from a little boy who was uneasy with the concept of death to a man capable of taking great risks in a well reasoned manner. That was a quality he would need in his journey to the moon.

Alex Malley converses with Commander Neil Armstrong.

Indeed, his story is one to remember, but he is not the first brave man who did not appear so in our first glimpse of him. The morning of my birthday I found myself reading from the Book of Judges in my daily reading. The story was that of Gideon. When we first meet him in Judges chapter 6 he is threshing grain while hiding in a winepress. Normally grain was threshed on a hill in the open so the chaff will blow away, but Gideon fears the Midionites, who raid the land and steal the grain. Hence, he is hiding in the winepress.

An angel of the Lord appears to him saying: "The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour."

Gideon's answer is anything but valorous, he replies: "Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."

And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?

And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.

Gideon might have been the 'least in his father's house.' He indeed asked for a lot of confirmation but then he boldly stepped out and trusted G-d, who did mighty things through him. He went on to win a decisive victory over the Midianites with just 300 men! The time Gideon lived in was one of great despair for the people, as the Midianites had robbed and disheartened them. At times like that (and times like our own),we often find ourselves crying out for extraordinary leaders.We forget that extraordinary things are often done by very ordinary men and women in the face of extraordinary challenges.

Listening to Armstrong, one is struck by his humility and matter-of-fact description of the incredible events he participated in. He does not like to talk about himself and though he is a man of high accomplishment, he is reluctant to take any more of his share of the credit for it. I am incredibly blessed to know young men and women cast in the same mold who live in our times. What will the Divine accomplish through their lives, I ask? I think of President John F. Kennedy's setting the bar: "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too." [1.] The challenge before us in our times is great indeed!

I step out of the tent and gaze up at the stars. In my lifetime I saw mankind reach for them. My father was an engineer with NASA in its golden age and he developed a device known as the Launch Phase Simulator. [2.] Framed in the trees in the night sky I see the constellation Orion. That was one of the first ones my father taught me to recognize... the mighty hunter with his dagger and his distinctive belt! Generations must have been inspired by the sight before me this night! I think of the young people I have been priviledged to work with. I have seen them grow into people capable of being used to change the world (for the better), and I am humbled to think that I might have somehow been used to influence their lives. And so I plead; we NEED to leave them a country that challenges them as those before us were challenged... to dare and do great things!

Man's First Act on the Moon:

Buzz Aldrin describes, in his own words, the first act of men visiting another world, to honor G-d: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.’ I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly. …I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

Eric Metaxas writes: "And of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon — and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.” [3.]

Next Week in THYME:
A Story in a Painting

Meet Belle, her real life story is the story behind an intriguing Eighteenth Century Painting. It has recently been made into a fascinating movie and tells the story of how her family's love for her compelled them to stand against the beast within; the human depravity that would enslave and destroy her people!