Farmville Enterprise column 11/23/16
This week many of us will gather with family and friends to join in thanking God for his overwhelming provision. The first Thanksgiving took place in the autumn of 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians celebrated the Plymouth Colony’s first successful harvest. In September of 1620, one hundred and two passengers had set sail from Plymouth, a port on the southern coast of England, to travel to the New World on a merchant ship called the Mayflower. Nearly forty of these passengers were Protestant Separatists who were seeking religious freedom and who hoped to establish a new church in America. Like the Puritans they wanted to worship God as they liked and objected to many aspects of the Church of England. Unlike the Puritans, who sought to reform from within, the Pilgrims wanted a complete break from that established church. These Separatist Calvinists used the Geneva Bible whose divisions of the Scriptures into numbered verses were the first in the English language. Even their form of government attested to their faith. Forty one men signed the Mayflower Compact, promising submission and obedience to the terms of a civil body politic, “having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant” a new colony. These Christians were profoundly aware of God’s providential care.
As their Governor William Bradford put it, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise.” Like these early settlers we too acknowledge God’s grace on our behalf.
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. (Psalm 105:1-5)