Pilgrims and Foreigners
Since I am reading a series of books that reaches forty books in length, I have become more interested than ever in the word, pilgrim. While the English translation describes the first settlers in Plymouth Colony, that also seems to be the only definition presented in the English dictionary. Used as a noun, the word is used for someone who takes a journey in search of religious devotion. The fact is, there were groups of people who traveled to this new world in search of owning their own land, searching for furs, or gold, but it was the Puritans who came in search of a place to worship apart from the dictates of a monarch.
Enough martyrs had now been slain for the cause of having personal copies of the Word of God in the English language. William Bradford and William Brewster led a group of people who went beyond the point of merely trying to purify the Church of England, to forming their own centers of worship. There were dubbed, separatists. Their journey to a new world was for the purpose of being able to be separated from the Church of England. This quote cites the use of the word, pilgrim: “After the Mayflower arrived, the first baby born was a boy. His parents (William and Susannah White) named him Peregrine – a word which means travelling from far away and also means pilgrim.” They saw themselves as pilgrims.
The books I mentioned in the opening lines are called, The House of Winslow It is historical fiction. Indeed the Winslow name is on the Mayflower Compact but it is Edward. There was a Gilbert Winslow who returned to England. But I digress. Back to the word, pilgrim. I find that believing Christians are pilgrims. The writer of Hebrews states it as such in 11:13 as those who had lived in the Old Testament were simply pilgrims. They saw from afar the fruits of faith and kept pressing toward that mark of the Heavenly home. Likewise, Peter mentions in I Peter 2:11 that since we are strangers and pilgrims here on earth, we should put off worldly lusts which war against the soul.
It has been a long journey since 1620 when the Separatists landed on the New England shores to find freedom from a government established religion to freedom to proclaim Christ with liberty. Still, we are pilgrims on this earth. The only perfect place is in Heaven. Let’s just keep plodding on with the message of salvation by grace through faith so that we can grow our Heaven-bound number. Those early pilgrims risked all they had of earthly possessions. Should we do any less if called upon to do so?
For further reading: http://www.gotquestions.org/Puritans-Puritanism.html
The quoted material in the weblog is from: http://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/homework-help/who-were-pilgrims