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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

November 2009

Dear Friends,              

            Make a joyful noise to the Lord,

all the lands!

        Serve the Lord with gladness!

        Come into his presence with singing!
       
(Psalm 100:1-2)

Even to this day, nearly four centuries later, there lies deep within the recesses of our hearts a warm place for the Mayflower.  If there is a Thanksgiving nostalgia lodged in our essence as a pilgrim people, it grows out of the image of that majestic ship, which deposited our Pilgrim ancestors on the shores of Plymouth, Massachusetts in November 1620.  At that time of year, the air undoubtedly carried a bitter chill, the ground was probably covered with snow, and the disconcerting presentiment of a bleak winter loomed as stark as the leafless landscape.  While the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving in 1621 was a bountiful feast, the subsequent months moved the settlers toward a stark state imbued with the somber threat of starvation.  

Out of this starkness grew an equally stark New England tradition—one to be observed for years to come—in which it was customary at Thanksgiving to place five kernels of corn at every plate as a reminder of the first winter, when only seven healthy colonists nursed the sick, and nearly half their number lay in the windswept graveyard on a nearby hill . . . when the food supply was so depleted that only five small kernels of corn were rationed to each individual at a time.  Succeeding generations wanted their children to remember the suffering that made possible the settlement of a free people in a free land.  It commemorated the hard life of tough, resilient pioneers of faith, who—in spite of the stark winter and the ravages of starvation—remained to form the Plymouth Colony.   Sailors alone were aboard the Mayflower when it sailed back to England in April 1621.

For the dauntless courage of our Pilgrim forebears, for religious freedom on the soil of a free land, and for the national freedoms we foster and savor today, we lift our voices to a great God of Providence:

 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him, bless his name!

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures for ever;

And his faithfulness to all generations.

(Psalm 100:4-5)

 

Yours in Christ, faithfully and gratefully,

Calvin Coolidge Wilson