From the Editor

Why not shoot for the moon?

Michael L. Sherer

Michael L. Sherer

Have you ever considered what might have gone through the mind of the Apostle Paul when he set out to share the good news that had captivated him? What sort of game plan do you suppose he first considered? Here’s how I imagine it:

Paul: Wow, this is one amazing message! We have Jews all over the Roman Empire. They know the Scripture tradition. Now all I have to do is explain how Jesus fulfills all of that … Golly, an entire empire! Jewish synagogues everywhere you go, probably as far away as Spain! … But, wait. Why stop with Jews? What about … Naaah, that’s just too crazy … On the other hand, why not? If God loves Jews, couldn’t he also love Gentiles? If there are thousands of Jews, there must be millions of Gentiles. I know it sounds wild, but why don’t I just shoot for the moon and go for Jews and Gentiles?
Thank God Paul did what he did. (Other-wise, we might be worshiping Thor or Woden.)

Sometimes you really ought to shoot for the moon. I was reminded of that truth, in a curious (and amusing) way recently, when a photocopy of a 35-year-old story arrived in my mailbox. It came to me from a friend of Metro Lutheran, an individual retired after serving with distinction on the staff at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Jim Wennblom was thinking fast when it became clear that Buzz Aldrin, who had been awarded an honorary academic degree from Gustavus, was going to be part of the crew of astronauts who, along with Neil Armstrong, would be the first humans ever to set foot on the moon.

Wennblom decided, literally, to “shoot for the moon.” He contacted Aldrin and convinced him to carry two customized cloth pennants, each bearing identical information about Gustavus Adolphus College, along in the rocket ship. The idea was to plant one on the surface of the moon and to leave one inside the space module.

Aldrin agreed to the scheme, received the pennants, and took them with him into space. After he returned, Wennblom pressed him on whether he’d actually planted one on the moon. Aldrin admitted things had gotten a little hectic. No, he couldn’t assure the Gustavus booster that had actually happened. But, it was clear, the pennants did actually travel to the moon.

This past July, 35 years ago, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first ever to visit earth’s “lesser light.” And a bit of Gustavus went along.

Sometimes you have to shoot for the moon.