Thought For The Day

Occasionally I fill in for the high school Sunday School teacher at my church. Recently I filled in for her, and the lesson was very interesting. The theme of the lesson was “God has a plan and a purpose for your life.” That was mixed in with the need for personal integrity and hard work. It was a good lesson.

The example given in the lesson was the story of Squanto. Squanto is very well known in Massachusetts as the Indian who pretty much saved the Pilgrims’ lives during their first winter in America. The Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on November 11, 1620. Shortly after, they moved to Plymouth, a harbor somewhat protected by Cape Cod Bay. Coming to New England in November with limited supplies is a recipe for disaster. Initially the Pilgrims were greeted by an Indian named Samoset, chief of the Algonquin tribe in Maine, who was exploring the coast. He spoke English, which he had learned from various fishing captains who had fished off the Maine Coast. He explained to them that area where they had settled had previously belonged to the Patuxet Indians, a large, hostile tribe who murdered every white man who landed on their shores. Four years before the Pilgrims arrived, that tribe had died of a mysterious plague. The devastation was so complete that neighboring tribes would not settle in that land. Later, Samoset brought his friends Squanto and Massasoit, the Chief of the Wampanoag Tribe, to meet the Pilgrims.

This is Squanto’s story:

In 1605, Squanto and four other Indians were taken captive by English sailors and taken to England. When he met Squanto in England, Captain John Smith, an English Captain, promised to take Squanto back to his people. In 1614, Captain Smith fulfilled that promise. Unfortunately, Captain Hunt, who was sailing with Captain Smith’s expedition on another ship kidnapped Squanto and some other Indians and brought them back to Spain. Squanto was bought by local friars, who introduced him to Christianity. Squanto managed to get back to London where he embarked for New England with Captain Dermer. Captain Dermer picked up Samoset at Monhegan, an important fishing station in Maine, and dropped both Indians off at Plymouth. When Squanto got to Plymouth, he found out that his entire tribe had been wiped out by disease. Squanto lived with the Massasoit (Wampanoag Tribe) for a while as he grieved his loss. Then Samoset told him about some peaceful English families at Patuxet. He went with Samoset to meet the Pilgrims.

That meeting resulted in a 40-year peace treaty of mutual aid and assistance. Massasoit was an example of God’s provision in his care for the Pilgrims. Squanto chose to stay with the Pilgrims after the meeting with Samoset and Massasoit. He showed them how to catch fish and how to plant corn. He taught them to stalk deer, make beaver pelts for trading, and the other skills they needed to survive. His grieving ended as he discovered new purpose.

Based on where he was born and his family, Squanto was not someone you would have assumed would make a difference in the world. Yet, despite his beginnings and unbelievable challenges and disappointments, he played a significant role in the history of America. Never assume that you are too insignificant to be significant. We are at a major tipping point in America right now. You never know the impact you may have on a person when you simply share a basic truth or insight with them. We know in the end that the good guys win. You are part of that victory.

Much the information here can be found in THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY By Peter Marshall and David Manuel.

The Real Story Of Thanksgiving

On Wednesday, CBN News posted an article about the real story of Thanksgiving. Please follow the link to read the entire story. Meanwhile, here are a few highlights:

As for verifiable facts, one for sure is that these religious reformers started building their first American settlement in the harsh winter of 1620-1621, even as half their number died around them.

But just a few months later these faithful Christians who believed in thanking God for everything were already planning the first American Thanksgiving.

“This was in 1621 after the first season here in Plymouth where they lost half their population and only had 51 of 102 people left at the end of that season,” Pilgrim role-player Leo Martin told CBN News.

…”The very first feast that we had in these parts, our governor sent four men on fowling and in just some small hours, the four men were able to take enough wildfowl to feed our company for a week,” he said. “For we required a special manner of rejoicing, the Lord having sustained us for a year and having brought in such a goodly harvest.”

They Are a Toothsome Bird

In Plymouth’s annual Thanksgiving parade, the occasional float will go by showing large, plump turkeys, the kind today’s Americans imagine Pilgrims feasted on. But in truth, their turkeys were wild, lean and mean.

“They were very skinny and they could run up to 25 miles an hour,” Martin said. “So to catch one was a challenge.”

…At the Plimoth Plantation where that first Pilgrim settlement is faithfully recreated, top researcher Richard Pickering dresses up to act out the part of Edward Winslow, one of only two Pilgrims to leave a written record of that first Thanksgiving.

…’Winslow’ said, “I find the turkeys here of New England, they are a bit different than those that live upon the dunghills back home in England. But they are a toothsome bird.”

Another sure fact: these grateful Englishmen didn’t dine alone because they knew they wouldn’t have made it without the Indians, or Sachems, as Winslow called them.

The Native Americans showed them what could grow in this radically different soil that was unkind to English seeds.

…”They felt that Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoag Indians, was so instrumental in their survival that they should invite Massasoit and his immediate family to that celebration, and they did,” Martin explained.

But Massasoit misunderstood a bit.

“While we were feasting and making of sport and exercising our arms, amongst us come the great Sachem Massasoit and about 90 of his men,” Winslow said.

Martin pointed out that could have wiped out all the Pilgrims’ supplies, but the chief and his braves brought plenty of food with them.

“Venison, turkey, fish, vegetables — and together they had enough food for a three-day celebration where they honored one another and became better friends,” Martin said.

The article concludes:

Finally, the cook would have seasoned this stuffing with herbs brought all the way from England, like thyme, hyssop, and parsley.

“We believe that the things they are growing in their kitchen gardens in the 17th century are primarily things brought over from England. They’re trying to bring home with them,” Messier (Norah Messier is Plimoth Plantation’s expert on the food of that era.) explained. “They’re trying to make New England feel like old England.”

That likely is why a man like Winslow would have preferred something better than those skinny, exotic New England turkeys.

Winslow said with a twinkle in his eye, “In truth, my greatest delight is a goose for I do love its great fatness.”