- Photograph of moon, perhaps rotating google earth (moon) view on screen.
- Handout with quotes
God, thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days – for then we have you to lean upon. Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days, for then we can share that which we have with those who have less. Thank you for today and these moments we have. Amen.
Welcome/ Introduction/ Names:
Take a moment to introduce yourself to the group, if they are comfortable, ask them to share their name, spirituality or faith background and an icebreaker such as “what is your favorite style of pizza?”
Text for the Day (Poem, Song, Reading, Quote, Etc.):
It seems to me that we are in something like a moon exploration age, right now. Russia, India, China, Korea, USA, and the rest of the world all have their sights on understanding the moon.
Did you know that you have only ever seen one side of the moon? Though it orbits around the earth, the same side faces toward us the whole time. It technically does rotate on its twenty-seven-day journey around our planet, but because it is tidally locked to earth, it manages to keep its rear away from us at all times. Scientists call this synchronous rotation. Like a servant before a king, the moon never turns its back on us.
What is called “the far side of the moon” or “dark side of the moon” is always hidden. Humans laid eyes on it for the first-time during Apollo 8. This side of the moon is pocked by craters far more extreme than those on the side we see in the sky every night. One reason for this is obvious: for as long as it has hung in the sky, the side pointing away from earth gets the brunt of any asteroids coming our way, like a bodyguard taking a bullet for the one under their protection. And the earth returns the favor, acting as a shield for much of the space debris coming from our direction that would slam into the moon.
Different astronauts have described in different ways.
“The moon is essentially gray, no color; looks like plaster of Paris or sort of a grayish beach sand. We can see quite a bit of detail… the craters are all rounded off. They’re quite a few of them, some of them are newer. Many of them look like – especially the round ones – look like hit by meteorites or projectiles of some sort.”Astronaut Jim Lovell (Apollo 8)
“I don’t think anything I’d studied prepared me for the really troubled nature of the lunar surface – it was messed up beyond belief… It was terribly distressed with holes, craters, volcanic residue, so it was a very interesting view of a different world.”Astronaut Rank Borman (Apollo 8)
“The back side looks like a sand pile my kids have played in for some time. It’s all beat up, no definition, just a lot of bumps and holes.”Astronaut Bill Anders (Apollo 8)
The moon is big for a moon, but is just a size of ¼ of the earth. Its backside has mountain ranges taller than the Himalayas. There are many craters, craters within craters. Some an inch deep, some go down a mile. There are crates so big the Grand Canyon could fit inside. One crater is eighty-five miles wide and almost thirty thousand feet deep.
I find it extremely symbolic that the moon, like so many of us, keeps the most damaged (and interesting) side out of sight. Mark Twain once said, “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” The irony, of course, is that even though the dark side is where damage has happened, it is also where the highest heights are located. The highlands rise higher above the surface there than on the near side. Craters plunge low. Craters are just mountains in reverse.
The pockmarks and wounds you carry around inside and show to no one are not only where the most damage has happened; they are where your greatest potential strengths lie. As they say, the cracks are what let the light in.
Jesus gave us a way of looking at the textured dark sides we are tempted to keep hidden.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.(Matt 5:3-6)
Extreme situations can lead to deeper happiness and more profound joy. What makes you weird is what also makes you wonderful. Your quirks and curiosities are packed full of potential. Your pain can make you powerful. Extreme gratitude will be the end result of learning to embrace, [→xn] and trust God to unleash [/xn], the hidden potential of the dark side of your moon.
Discussion Questions/ Prompts/Activity:
What do you think of when you hear that the dark side of the moon is both the most damaged, and the most interesting?
If comfortable, what things in your life are on the dark side of your life that make you weird, quirky, and wonderful?
What would it look like to transform your perspective of your dark side from something to hide, to something to be discovered?
Invite the group members to share a prayer request if they have one. If you are comfortable, you may read through the gathered prayers that have been shared, or you might invite them to pray going around the circle. You might also simply invite them to hold one another in prayer, if prayer isn’t something you are comfortable with.
Holy God, Thank you for this day and giving us everything we have. Thank you for your creation. Give us grace to accept the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that can, and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
 Levi Lusko, The Last Supper on the Moon, pg 2-4.