Ready for Thanksgiving!
The following narrative is a history of the first years of the original English settlers in the colony of Plymouth. The Pilgrims were men, women and children whose commitment to God and His Kingdom were a high water mark for all others. I encourage you to read this brief history to your children or to those who you will be with this Thanksgiving. America, our beautiful country, has a brief window of opportunity to turn again to God’s unique calling on this nation. It must begin with knowing from where we came and the original calling that God placed on us.
The Mayflower brought the Pilgrims to “the New Jerusalem” in sixty-six days of stormy travel. There were one hundred and two Pilgrims who were crammed into a space about equal to a volleyball court. Because of the weather, they were below in the middle deck the entire time. With hatches battened down the stench was horrific, the travel in the mid-deck of the tiny ship cramped and they were without fresh air or sunlight the entire trip. They subsisted on a diet of dried pork, dried peas, and dried fish which barely kept them alive. Most had succumbed to sea sickness and could hardly eat at all.
Their cause? To follow God, to take the Light of the Gospel of Peace to the New World where they covenanted together with God and one another to prove the Gospel through sacrifice, humility, repentance and absolute commitment to the Scriptures.They set out three times before they finally abandoned one ship and packed everyone as well as the supplies onto the Mayflower and departed for the final time. Having eaten most of their reserves while waiting, they knew that if they were to make a permanent stand in New England, it would be because “God works a miracle.”
- Six dead in December
- Eight dead in January
- On January 14, the common house where the sick and dying lay caught fire exposing the sick to more of the bitter winter that had settled on them.
- In February, two a day were dying.
- The 21st claimed four lives.
- March, another thirteen died.
By the time it was all done, forty-seven people, nearly half their original number were dead. Thirteen of the eighteen wives had died. But through it all, they remained faithful to God. They continued to lean on their covenant with God and each other and they pressed forward knowing that the current troubles were not a reflection on God’s love but an opportunity to stay faithful to what God had called them to do. In the middle of March as the days began to slowly warm, an Indian walked into their camp and boomed out in the King’s english,“Welcome!” … and then asked for beer! His name was Samoset and so began the remarkable blessings of the God they served. He sent another Indian to them, Squanto, who told them that the place they had landed had belonged to his tribe that had been mysteriously wiped out, most likely by disease. What was left were fields ready to plant along with the superstition among the savage tribes that surrounded them that the land was cursed so no one would venture to go there. They learned to plant corn, made a peace treaty of mutual aid and assistance with the Indians that lasted forty years, learned to harvest the fish and game, and chose to a man to stay in this new land that they had been delivered to by the grace of God.
This did not happen on some foreign mission field. These things took place in the United States. Our land was founded on the principles of sacrifice to God, commitment to the cause of Christ, and covenants between God and men as well as between families.
“As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation… We have noted these things so that you might see their worth and not negligently lose what your fathers have obtained with so much hardship.”