By Bill Randles
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. (Hebrews 11:8-12)
Our Western society loves to commemorate historic anniversaries. When I was a child, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. It was constant and pervasive, and as a child I loved it. Picture books, lectures, studies of generals such as Grant and Lee everywhere we turned.
The November 22, 1963 anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is dutifully remembered every single year. More recently we had a four-year remembrance of the hundredth anniversary of World War 1 (which I have found fascinating also).
I was in the UK a few years ago, and they were commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of the King James version of the Bible. It was amazing. The UK, I know, is a very secular, post-Christian society (with a very strong but tiny remnant church), but even the godless BBC heavily commemorated the King James version, and its contribution to the English language.
But there is an equally profound four-hundred-year anniversary, which, for the most part, is relatively ignored by our society. I speak of the landing of the Pilgrim fathers on the Mayflower. I am amazed at the relative lack of popular, mainstream interest in the event and have been pondering why before God.
It’s not that we just can’t remember that far back anymore; after all, last year America was awash with the “1619 project,” a Marxist and deeply flawed version of America’s founding. It was 1619 that the first African slaves were brought to the New World.
Every where we turn, there is an unprecedented educational push to establish the lie that America’s real founding is based upon racism and exploitation. There are millions of tax dollars flowing in order to insert this propaganda in public schools.
What does it mean that 1619 is so emphasized , while 1620 is basically ignored?
It is just another example of the spiritual battle being waged for the soul of our nation, between those who were formed by the Judeo-Christian outlook and those who are the fruit of the ongoing atheistic revolution. The idea is to spiritually demoralize America, to disintegrate our body politic, and to disinherit us from the faith and accomplishments of so many of our forefathers.
Admittedly, America has always had two souls; Jamestown, was a colony established by freeloading “Gentlemen” out for treasure and wealth, and who refused to work to feed themselves, instead living off of the good will of the Indian tribes, and eventually cheating and stealing from them.
The other soul of America is that of the Puritans, separatists, and other devoted Christian believers who risked all to come here to establish a “City on a Hill,” a place to worship God and evangelize the Native American Indians.
I believe 1620 is ignored now because this a Christian story, complete with earnest God-fearing people, miracles, and a sixty-year peace treaty with the Indians. These people wanted to serve God, to live honest lives, to make settlements, raise children, and build a just society for future generations.
That doesn’t fit the atheistic narrative. The Pilgrims were not oppressors— they were peace-loving settlers. They were builders as well as worshippers.
Originating from the village of Scrooby in England, the original Pilgrim fathers were non-conformists; a religious designation, they were Christians but didn’t want to worship in the Anglican (state) Church. They wanted to form their own assemblies, preach the Gospel, and practice evangelism. But for that, many were arrested, harassed, and their churches were shut down by government agents. (Ironically, I just saw English police invade a church service recently in the name of protecting people from Covid. They barged right in during worship, scaring women and children and proclaiming that the worshippers were an unlawful assembly. The more things change the more, they remain the same).
The small persecuted group of believers from Scrooby scraped together their meager funds and moved to Holland where there was more religious freedom. But after a few years, the Pilgrims found Holland to be too worldly and were concerned about losing their children to the world. So out of their extreme poverty, they pooled enough funds to charter two boats and half of the congregation set out for the New World in search of religious freedom. They soon had to turn back because one of the ships leaked so badly it was deemed unseaworthy, so they crammed into one ship—the Mayflower.
These weren’t professional soldiers or adventurers; they were simple, English Bible-believing Christians who risked all on that boat in search of religious freedom. Many had sold themselves into indentured servitude in order to afford the journey.
There were miracles of God’s providence:
- The sailors abused the Pilgrims badly, calling them “Psalm-singing pukestockings” and threatened to throw them overboard. They even tried to prevent them from bringing a prized printing press. (The Pilgrims wanted to print the Bible in America.) Had the sailors succeeded, the ship would have been in deep trouble. A storm broke the undergirding of the main mast, and the only way they could repair it was by using the screw of the printing press which fit perfectly under the mast replacing the broken piece and enabling the crew to elevate the mast into place.
- A storm blew the Pilgrims off course; had they landed where they intended, they would have joined another colony in Virginia which had 120 or so people reduced to starvation, eating boiled shoes and belt leather.
- The Mayflower instead landed in Massachusetts, at just the place where a fierce tribe of Indians had recently been devastated by a plague, nearly wiping them out. Had this group of Natives survived or not been plagued, they would surely have instead killed every one of the Pilgrims.
- A few months into the New World, the Pilgrims were startled by the visit of an Indian, who walked into the Palisade, and asked in perfect English, “Have you got any beer?.” He had been taken to England a few years earlier, learned English, and some said was converted to Christianity, but then wanted to return, only to find out his tribe had been wiped out by plague. He would be an invaluable aid to the Pilgrim company, teaching them how to live off of the land and when and where to fish, plant etc.
These stories were once well known and cherished in America. Now they are being ignored and forgotten in our politically correct, atheistic, cultural revolution. We should not let this happen.
What is a pilgrim? A pilgrim is a religious traveler who seeks a “better city” and who knows something higher and purer is available (from God) to any who will heed God’s call and follow. The Marxist atheists hate the Pilgrims because they were unashamed Christians. Thus, they denigrate them, misrepresent them, and caricature them on every opportunity.
The lack of commemoration of them, and what they would suffer and die to build, is a shame. Scripture tells us “The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot” (Proverbs 10:7).
Those seeking to destroy this country, and who are willing to lie and denigrate the Pilgrims and others in order to do it, could never build a just and free society as the Pilgrims would do. (It takes Christianity, applied, to do so.) They couldn’t hold a candle to these people. It is much easier to destroy than to build in this fallen world.
Every Thanksgiving, I gather my family around and tell them the story of these remarkable saints, as we all thank God for his indescribable blessings. May God help us to keep the feast in faith and love.
(Photo credit: Painting titled “Thanksgiving at Plymouth” by Jennie Brownscombe in 1925; in the public domain – Thanksgiving at Plymouth | Artwork | NMWA.)