A prayer to mark 50 years since the moon landing

This NASA file image shows Apollo 11 U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing on the Moon, next to the Lunar Module "Eagle" (R), July 20, 1969.(Photo: Reuters/Neil Armstrong-NASA/Handout)

Churches are joining in celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by holding special exhibitions and interactive events, while the Church of England has released a special prayer in honour of the occasion.

It was the evening of 20 July 1969 that the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle made its historic landing on the moon.

Less than seven hours later, on 21 July 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong took his famous "small step for [a] man" and "giant leap for mankind". 

Minutes later, he was joined by Buzz Aldrin, a devout Christian who took a moment to give thanks to God by taking communion on the moon - the first man to celebrate the sacrament outside of planet Earth - and read from John 15:5, in which Jesus instructs his followers that he is the vine and they are the branches. 

Aldrin later recalled the moment: "I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolising the thought that God was revealing Himself there, too, as man reached out into the universe.

"For there are many of us in the NASA programme who do trust that what we are doing is part of God's eternal plan for man."

Half a century on, the Church of England is also giving thanks to God for the moon landing with the release of a special prayer giving thanks to the God who made it all possible.

The prayer has been shared widely on social media and speaks of man's drive to "explore the mysteries of creation" and the need to cherish our world.

The prayer reads: 

O God, 

who made the universe and all that is in it

we thank you for the skills and talents

that enable us to explore the mysteries of creation. 

Give us the will to cherish all that you have made, 

and to use the riches of our own world

for the good of all, 

through Jesus Christ our Lord


Churches and cathedrals across England have been taking part in the worldwide celebrations with lunar-themed events. 

Lichfield Cathedral has installed a 'moon floor' - a 36m replica of the lunar surface, which opened to the public on Saturday morning to coincide with the anniversary of the landing.

The installation, called One Small Step, will give visitors to the cathedral between now and September a taste of what walking on the surface of the moon is like.

At Birmingham Cathedral, visitors will be treated to a stunning immersive sound and light show called Interstellar. 

The Bishop of Kingston, Richard Cheetham, co-director of Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science, a project to promote greater understanding between science and faith, is encouraging churches to use the anniversary of the moon landing as an opportunity for prayer and reflection.

"After decades of space travel, including the iconic moon landing 50 years ago, we are more aware than ever of the vastness and complexity of the cosmos," he said.

"Living, as we do, in a scientific age it is vital that our understanding and practice of Christian faith celebrates and engages deeply with the huge potential which science brings to our understanding of the universe, and ensures it is used wisely.

"The Equipping Christian leadership in an Age of Science project has sought to help the church to do that in many ways.

"This moon landing 50th anniversary gives another helpful way of engaging in a reflective and prayerful manner. I hope it is widely used in our churches."

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Rev Adrian Dorber said: "The first moon landing by human beings was an extraordinary feat; it summed up humanity's spirit of adventure and exploration.

"Space exploration enabled us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet and it opened us all to the immensity of space, the awesomeness of the universe and encourages us still today to think about the origins of everything and whether life and time has a purpose and a point.

"Science and Religion have interesting things to say to one another: in this summer's programme here at Lichfield Cathedral, we want to help people discover that sense of awe and wonder in the universe, to pray and contemplate and to marvel again at the sheer ingenuity that got astronauts on the moon, to create a bit of visual background to this special anniversary."