In July of 1969,
in the midst of a memorable summer,
(that season when reason took a vacation
as the names of Woodstock and Chappaquiddick
wormed their way into our history books),
Uncle Sam flexed his strong arm
and lifted a man higher than any man
had been lifted before.
It was a holy moment.
For Heaven's sake,
it was unlike anything we had witnessed before.
We were moonstruck with wonder.
What occurred was out of this world.
It was an intersection of time and space
where JFK's lofty dream
(nearly forgotten following the nightmare in Dallas)
was finally realized.
It was one small step for man,
a giant leap for mankind.
Folding our hands,
we knelt in grateful prayer amazed
as Neil unfolded a flag and raised it on a pole
before proceeding to moonwalk on a cratered surface
we'd previously seen only through a telescope.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth
we listened to a ten-year-old Michael Jackson
singing on the radio.
As we sang along with "I'll Be There,"
we realized the boy-wonder
had provided us appropriate lyrics.
We imagined ourselves being there.
One day dancing on that crescent moon,
kicking up dust and looking back
at that big blue marble
suspended in an even bigger black sky.
It's hard to believe it's been forty years
since Apollo 11 rocketed through space
depositing one who left footprints on the moon.
Even now, all those many years later,
it's just as hard to believe
as I look at that crescent-shaped light overhead
that members of the human race
actually visited that far-off place.
But what's even more difficult to comprehend
is why the Creator of the cosmos
visited our third rate planet
in a second rate galaxy
a couple thousand years ago.
He didn't plant a flag,
but He unfurled a banner
on which He announced His unconditional love
to an estranged world of aimless humans.
It was a flesh-and-blood banner
(spread eagle over wooden beams)
that became a launching pad
triggering the maiden voyage of grace
from the outer realms of eternity
to the far reaches of the planet
we call home.
And while angels watched,
Love's eagle landed.
And onto the sun-baked soil of Palestine,
wine-colored liquid flowed
from the lifeless body
of one stapled to an old bloodied cross.
That gathering pool is what accounts
for the reddish footprints still visible
to those with eyes of faith to see.
The day Love's eagle landed,
a holy God took a step
toward His sinful creation.
With open-arms and a welcoming smile
He spoke words of pardon
anticipated for millennia.
"All is forgiven!"
That's one small step for God,
a giant leap for mankind!