GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
By Keith L. Estes
Every year at this time my thoughts go back to Plymouth Colony and the many sacrifices of the Pilgrims in the new land.
These English Puritan separatists who called themselves Pilgrims because of their wander-ings in quest of religious freedom, set sail on the Mayflower to America on September 16, 1620.
When they reached Cape Cod on November 19, the forty one men aboard signed the Mayflower Compact. After exploring the nearby coast. the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth on December 21. They lived aboard the ship all winter, going back and forth between ship and shore to build their cabins and move their goods.
Many died during the winter, but not one of those remaining went back to England when the Mayflower sailed in the spring. The first governor, John Carver, died soon after the ship left. With the summer of 1621 came new hope when the corn harvest was bountiful, due in large part to the aid of the Wampanoag Indians who helped the Pilgrims with the planting. Then Governor William Bradford decreed that a three day feast be held in celebration. Our American Thanksgiving probably grew out of this first harvest home celebration.
In an age when most people were subject to kings and other masters, the colonists set forth ideas of self rule and fair treatment for all. Though they still regarded themselves as "loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord King James," the election of John Carver was the first time in the colonies that a governor was chosen by those he governed.
We have so much to be thankful for. George Elvey captured the thought so beautifully in his hymn:
Come ye thankful people come, raise the song of harvest home;David writes in Psalm 100, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Be thankful unto him and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Reference: Psalm 100:4 (King James Version.)