If you have not read the Agreement Between the Settlers of New Plymouth, I recommend it. Later titled the Mayflower Compact, it was a document that was created to avoid chaos after the Mayflower Ship bound for Virginia was blown off course and landed in Massachusetts. Disagreement brewed among the passengers because the ship had not landed in Virginia as intended and they felt they were no longer bound to the agreement with the Company of Merchant Adventures of London. They therefore set about to govern themselves and signed the document on November 11, 1620, 400 years ago. A reason that I think the Mayflower Compact is significant is its focus on God and that it is a foundational document for the settling in America. Not all the passengers on the Mayflower were Christians. Of the 50 men, 19 women, 33 young adults and children, just 41 were religious separatists seeking freedom from the Church of England. Even so the blatantly religious document was universally accepted. In Nathaniel Philbrick’s book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, he stated: “Just as a spiritual covenant had marked the beginning of their congregation in Leiden, a civil covenant would provide the basis for a secular government in America.”[i] The Separatists, or Pilgrims, knew that the only hope of effective governing was going to have to involve the Almighty and the Commandments that He had given. I imagine that the Pilgrims had to have demonstrated something extraordinary in the time they had been on the ship that would lend credibility to their proposal. When you have over a 100 people crowded together on a small ship, in less than perfect weather, your true nature is sure to be revealed. After that crucible the Separatist Pilgrims were held in high regard and were able to put forth an agreement that benefited all concerned.
I was recently made aware of something that Kenneth Copeland said last year about America and 2020, which had a profound impact on me. “This is the only nation ever founded by a people specifically because they loved Me and wanted to worship Me. And I have never forgotten it, and I never will forget it…I am the God of this country.”[ii] We have always known that Israel are God’s chosen people; the Bible is replete with that fact. I have often wondered what God’s favor on America was rooted in. America has been a friend to Israel, and God or the ‘divine’ is mentioned in every state constitution. Reverend Copeland’s statement brought a clarity to me that I had not fully understood; this country was founded specifically as a choice to serve God.
We, as a country, chose God. You may be thinking, “Tom, we are nowhere NEAR that now.” In so many cases you are correct, but I believe in a remnant of fervent believers who love this country and love God that are choosing Him every day. And that is key, we must individually choose Him every moment of every day. By individually choosing Him and living out His commandments with His love, we can be a light. We can be a city on a hill, always pointing to the Father with our words and our actions. I know that God is faithful to those that call His name. If our individual choices to follow Him can have an impact on those we encounter and give them a reason to seek what our light and motivation is, there is a chance we as a nation can once again chose Him.
The Christian singer Carman had a fun, whimsical song in the 80’s called Some-o-dat. The premise of the song is that when people see in you something different, something attractive like peace, love, compassion, and grace they will want to have Some-o-dat. When we are grousing over every circumstance, arguing and criticizing others, in person and on social media, nobody is going to be attracted to that. To quote a more recent hit song, this one from Danny Gokey; Love God, Love People. By this, maybe, we can draw our nation back to its original design to choose God.