For those of you who've been following us for a while, you might recall my previous musings on my Thanksgiving hero, William Bradford here, here, or here. Okay. The guy had me at "tally-ho."
He was orphaned as a child, and soon found himself mixed up in a rather edgy church in a town called Scrooby. When he didn't play nice with King James' (of Bible fame) denominational monopoly - he was thrown in prison. He was 17 at the time, mind you.
And so the stage was set for this world changer to rise. Isn't it interesting how God can use anyone for His great purposes?
Bradford headed to Holland for refuge with the rest of his church family. When life got volatile there their hunger for life in God and freedom led them to make a rather daring decision - travel for 3 months in a boat to a completely foreign land and build a new home. There was never a guarantee that any of it would work out - that they would even survive the crossing.
I often think of Bradford standing on the deck of the Mayflower. He had no idea about Plymouth or Thanksgiving or football games. He had no idea that he would play a role in the founding of a new nation. He had no foresight for a new country that would expand from sea to shining sea, or the advances in technology that would connect Plymouth to Leiden, Holland in seconds. Which might have proved handy at the time seeing as though it's where he left his small son before embarking on the journey to America.
Bradford's tale always challenges me with the questions of:
What am I hungry for?
What am I willing to do to live fully in God?
What am I leaving as a legacy to those I will never meet?
This Thanksgiving, I find myself full of gratitude for the brave ones who have come before and made a way for me to live with such freedom, and I wonder what do I have to give for those who will come after me?
"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city...Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that isset before us,2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 11: 13-16, Hebrews 12:1-2
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