They left the comfort and security of their home to board a vessel to a strange new land. For months they suffered death and illness on a journey that provided no guarantees for success. They finally arrived at their destination but at the harshest time of year. That first Winter would take almost half of their fellow worshippers from their congregation.
400 years ago next month, the Pilgrims of The English Separatist Church left England fleeing religious persecution and certain death and torture. What they got instead was not much better. However, they did possess something much more powerful than all others who had made this journey. They possessed a strong belief and trust in God.
Yes they were immigrants and illegal aliens. They were religious zealots and disease carrying invaders. They were also carriers of something much greater though, keepers of the Word. In their possession was their passport of where their true origin resided, Heaven. They were on a mission to start anew, settle a land of barbarians and live out their lives here on terra forma practicing their way of life that was attacked in their homeland.
God bless the souls of these brave warriors who took the time to thank their Creator for their salvation and their ability to survive the harsh winter, difficult crop and terrible conditions. Yet they did and this time of year, we give thanks for their amazing effort. Their faith in God to sustain them led to who we are as a country today. Our original settlers trusted in the Almighty and He rewarded us with prosperity and over 340 million citizens many of which are descendants of these very people.
While our passport does not say Britain as the country of origin on it like our Pilgrim ancestors, our true home is not the United States. We too are Pilgrims living in a strange land and like our forefathers yearn to live a life true to the text we are bound to in the Bible. We are Pilgrims for Jesus and God and carriers of the Word.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:20
Our mission in life is not to embrace the customs and traditions this world has created. Like the Pilgrims, they did not become like the Wampanoag people but continued to live according to their beliefs. They may have incorporated certain agricultural methods from the native Americans but held true to their way of life and practiced it every day. We too must practice what God has laid upon us and carry forward His message.
The best way to preach the Word is to live it. Not one syllable needs to come from your lips for people to see how your trust in the Father has made your life prosperous and peaceful. Your health and freedom from strife are your medals of honor that people will see and wish for themselves. Then the harvest can begin when they ask why you are not affected by the trappings of this world and have not fallen victim to it.
It is because we are all citizens of Heaven and we have made a pilgrimage to this planet to do our part to share God's love for all creation. A love that was made manifest in the sacrifice of God's Son to reestablish the relationship Jesus had with Adam sooo many years ago. The Garden of Eden is our destination and our true origin. Once we accept this and embrace it, we will receive a whole new perspective to this world and its failings. We are not here to settle this world like our Pilgrim ancestors but to enlighten the inhabitants to the mysteries of God and where we are eventually headed, back Home!!
Give thanks to God for sending these people from Plymouth, England so long ago. Give thanks to God for giving you consciousness and the opportunity to experience this world and His creation. Give thanks for all He has done for you and has planned for you in His glorious future. A future that has you included in the manifest of the Pilgrims who left the Kingdom of Heaven to overcome the storms this world offers up. A future that rewards your faith with a journey back to our true homeland in Heaven.