Friday night I watched a documentary called In the Shadow of the Moon about a series of daring feats: NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon.

What is it like to be thrust into outer space? What is it like to stand on the moon and look back at earth? Weatherd men with wrinkled skin and watering eyes, the astronauts tell their stories. As they speak, we watch dazzling images.

At the count down, they knew the whole world was watching. They felt terrifying power convulse the rocket and saw the red-hot sparks engulfing them. They traveled through darkness. They stepped onto the moon. “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

 Looking back at earth from thousands of miles away, one man said it looked utterly fragile and vulnerable. Another thought it appeared as a glittering jewel: azure ocean, white clouds, and brown land.

The astronauts brought humanity an extraordinary gift: the image of our planet. In outer space they saw the wholeness of the earth, and the harmony of the universe. They spoke of preserving the earth’s beauty and being thankful.