Saturday, November 5, 2011

William's & Richard's Voyage

It took me completely by surprise.  There I was, out along the lofty & lengthy limb of mother's  ancestral Grinnell bough when I made my discovery.  It occurred at the intersection of Jonathan Grinnell & Abigail Ford in the late 1600s/early 1700s.  This was the segue that lead me through the labyrinth of generations that had, but a few years passed, landed at Plymouth by way of the Mayflower.  I could almost smell the salt air.

I wrote of my discovery briefly in another post From the Shire, but here I want to focus on those pilgrims in a more personal way.  Not only do I count William Brewster, the Mayflower's Chaplain, among my kin, but Richard Warren as well.  Both men were signatory to the Mayflower Compact, and both men sent descendants onto the lofty Grinnell limbs of my lineage.

Pilgrim.  Puritan.  They are distinct words that often engender some sense of uber-religious, if not altogether a narrow-mindedness.  I've been doing my level best to sort this out, as nothing I've read or discovered about these voyaging ancestors leads me to believe they were either.  And, believe me, MUCH has been written of them!

That's not to say there weren't abuses or extremes by some.  Who can ever forget the Salem Witch Trials?  Yet the folks that landed at Plymouth were not cut of that cloth.  Though Separatists, they loved their pagan Indian neighbors & unbelieving friends, relying on them greatly in order to survive.  In most instances they were loved equally in return, though later they found themselves betrayed & in much danger by these strangers (the pilgrim word for the un-pilgrim).

Given their Separatist leanings, my earlier fathers embarked on a mission that was, in the main, religious.   From nearly every angle, the history of their journey has been documented.  But even these 250+ years hence, I can almost see them sitting before today's television or internet, talking together about the grave conditions on the ground in their homeland where matters of faith are concerned.  They were ardent in their love of God's word; abhorred by the mounting oppression on it, and on them - from both the political & Church realms.  These were, then, the seeds of their defection; seeds already well-planted & fertilized in the soil of the Reformation. 

I have developed a deep interest in these people & their times - - for obvious & not-so-obvious reasons.  As I make my way along my ancestral boughs & through much material & history I am intrigued, challenged, blessed, concerned, proud.   Had I been there - in their times, amidst great & perilous turmoil - I'd like to think I've have stood tall in the face of opposition & oppression too  - - then packed my trunk (Bible first), donned my fortitude & set sail.  Afterall, a noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands!  (Isaiah 32:8)

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. 
For what do righteousness 
and wickedness have in common? 
Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial
Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? 
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
   “I will live with them and walk among them,
and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore, “Come out from them 
   and be separate, says the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-17 / Isaiah 52:11)


Footnote:  as isolationist-sounding as was the Separatist creed, it was hardly that in the end.  They personified - or attempted to - how one could be in the world, but not of it.  I would do well to consider that from their perspective, for I could learn much from their experience.


manthano said...

Appreciated this post. It points out a truth that
is so needed today. We are in the world, but
not to be a part of it.


Sonja said...

Those are convicting words, aren't they? What a great study, and how enlightening to see what they lived and believed. Yes, you are right, I would also do well to learn from them.

Linked through so many years, how fascinating, and yet the hearts are so much the same. :)

Saleslady371 said...

What an amazing discovery about your ancestors. I can only imagine the array of emotions you must be feeling. I love the strong passion for God's uncompromising Word that trickled its way down to you. You are most certainly passionate like them.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Isn't it interesting that they, as God's people, faced some of the same hurtles and challenges as we face today? In the world and not of the world, we are all just passing through. Makes me wonder what others will write about our generation of believers, in the years ahead. My prayer is that we will be remembered as "salt" and "light".

Terri Tiffany said...

Your journey is exciting! I wonder too how I might act in those times.

Peggy said...

It's hardy stock that you come from! Blessings to you!

Rebecca said...

♥ it! "a noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands!" (Isaiah 32:8)

And I'd do well to consider that "footnote", too.

I'm enjoying your journey back to our roots. So much to learn. So much to emulate. What an adventure you are on, Kathleen.

Miss Janet @ HOME said...

Wow, that's very interesting!



elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You are unearthing multiple goodnesses and growth in the midst of your search. I think we'd all be the wiser for taking a look at our family lineage, our spiritual one as well. Who knows? Maybe we're kin...

I'd like to think so.

I pray for a faith that is genuine, set apart, and ready for the struggles that shape and hone a heart made for Jesus.