We all occasionally experience a mind-boggling spiritual transcendence without understanding the meaning of it. It is the same uplifting experience that befalls us in the moment of connection between us and another person. Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo 8, who was supposed to land on the moon but did not reach it due to a mishap, tells of that memorable Christmas Eve in 1968: the spaceship began orbiting the moon, and the three crew members, William Anders, Frank Pullman and himself. “We’re about to broadcast on television a holiday greeting to the American nation who watched them with bated breath.”
He had no idea what to say at such an extraordinary time. Then, inspired by a surprise, he opened the book of Genesis and read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
And an entire nation, captivated to the television screens by unprecedented record viewing, united in a kind of religious experience, and believers and non-believers united in their love for the three pilots who outline a new map for man on his way to space.