Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Giving Thanksgiving to God
As spiritual descendents of the Puritans the Thanksgiving holiday should mean just a little bit more to Presbyterians and members of the Reformed faith. The Pilgrims who sailed to this country aboard the Mayflower were originally members of the
(a Reformed sect that had removed itself from the state Anglican Church of England). They had earlier fled their homes in the south of England-ironically from the town of English Separatist Church -and sailed to Boston to escape religious persecution by the English government. After experiencing similar persecution in Holland they made a daring and fateful decision that they should set sail to the west into uncharted waters. Waters only years before that English, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese explorers had navigated. What an amazing faith it must have took to get on a leaky, ill-suited ship and to cross the Holland Atlantic in a time before GPS. What is so amazing about this story is that the Puritans had no interest or wish to go to Plymouth Rock. They had intended to sail to the British colony at which itself had only been founded 13 years earlier. But the Almighty God had different plans for that bunch of English Separatists that had fled Jamestown and England and were now escaping to the Holland New World. And so that we may not think this journey was an easy one we must remember that by the beginning of the following fall, they had lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. 50% of the original Puritans perished yet what did they do first when they landed on Cape Cod? They broke bread with each other and gave thanks to the Lord our God for the glory that he had given them. What faith is that! A faith that gives thanks to God even though none of their prayers had been answered! They were hundreds-of-miles off course, tired, wet, and hungry yet their first response is to give thanks to the Almighty. This we should always remember as we sit down at our Thanksgiving table do not forget to thank God for the prayers he did not answer and for that we should be eternally grateful.