Some time ago I read the fascinating autobiography of Governor William Bradford, who courageously led the Pilgrims to the New World in 1620. The Governor documents how their quest for “religious freedom” brought them face to face with many perils. He describes how, en route to what we now know as Cape Cod, they nearly went to a watery grave when the supporting beam of the Mayflower’s mainmast snapped. By the providence of God, one of the families on board had brought a jack, which was used to reinforce the beam.
But this was only the beginning of sorrows. The arrival of the Pilgrims on the shores of liberty was also filled with many hazards, as nearly one-half of their number perished the first year due to disease. Nevertheless, their faith in our Lord remained unmoveable. Throughout it all, they found much for which to be thankful that “first” Thanksgiving. And so do we, for our “freedom of worship” was originally conceived in their sacrifice.
Today, however, this freedom is being threatened on every hand, both here and abroad. Perhaps the greatest threat is Islam! Christians around the world are being persecuted for sharing Christ with those who are living in darkness. Islam, of course, is a religion of hate, which is clearly seen in the riots and recent murders of innocent Americans in Muslim countries. The hallmark of Christianity, on the other hand, is love.
As we gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, may we be mindful of the great price that was paid to secure our liberty.
May we be mindful that Christ also died for Muslims; only He can deliver them from the brutality of their religion and set them free from a life of oppression.
May we be mindful of our troops overseas who are the guardians of our nation, preserving our freedom to worship here in America without fear of persecution. Many of these defenders of our values will be sitting in a bunker this Thanksgiving in some faraway country. There was a popular saying at the time of our country’s founding which is as true now as it was then: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
May we all give thanks for the salvation that we enjoy in Christ, even the forgiveness of our dreadful sins that would have condemned us. “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever” (Psa. 107:1). AMEN!