In the coming month, we will elect a new President of the United States, a new World Series Champion will be crowned and we will celebrate our first Thanksgiving in the new building. All three events are historic in their own way. As of this writing, these events have not yet happened, so we sit in anticipation knowing there is a future but not sure what the future holds. And once again, that is where our faith comes in. As I think of the time our church community is in now, I think of those faith wanderers of the past, the Puritans. They left Holland not sure what or where they were going to, and once here, had to struggle with rustic environs (to say the least!).
As the Puritans prepared for winter, they gathered anything they could find, borrowing supplies from their Wampanoag neighbors. The settlers needed help surviving in their new world. Samoset (better known as Squanto) visited the settlers. Squanto was a Wampanoag who had experience with other settlers and knew English. Squanto helped the settlers grow corn and use fish to fertilize their fields. After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people and they joined together to protect each other from other tribes in March of 1621. All seemed well but for a possible misunderstanding.
One day that fall, four settlers were sent to hunt for food for a harvest celebration. The Wampanoag heard gunshots and alerted their leader, Massasoit, who thought the English might be preparing for war. Massasoit visited the English settlement with ninety of his men to see if the war rumor was true. Soon after, when the Native Americans realized the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration, Massasoit sent some of his own men to assist the settlers in hunting deer for the feast. For three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat. This was the original Thanksgiving.
The first Thanksgiving would not have happened if strangers did not risk trusting each other (signing a treaty and then discussing when there was the misunderstanding). There would not have been a first Thanksgiving if the wise would not have shared their wisdom (the Wampanoag, teaching the English how to hunt). And as a sign of trust and community, they all shared together, English, Native, men, women and children at a welcome table.
We are also experiencing many firsts here in our new environ so let us make sure to talk with one another as we vision how we want to live. There is lots of wisdom among us. We are pilgrims in a new land and it may seem scary and unknown sometimes. But rest assured—we remembered to pack our table so more can have the opportunity to feast! We don’t know yet what the feast will look like but we do know how to INVITE.
Blessings on us as we continue to settle in and live into our future.