Fall is in full swing. Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and it’s almost cold enough to unfold our sweaters, sip a hot pumpkin spice latte, and curl up by the fireside with a great book. I recently opened up my New King James Bible to Ephesians and was struck by the connection between the translation and America’s treasured holiday. This translation of the Bible was being written when the Pilgrims were separating themselves from England. At the same time King James was authorizing one of the world’s most beloved translations of the Bible, he was also allowing religious strife to drive the Pilgrims out of England and to the untamed land of America.
It was exciting to realize Pastor Todd Arnett would be preaching in Ephesians 6 around the time of Thanksgiving. The whole book is inspiring, but chapter six is my favorite because it teaches us about the armor of God. His armor connects every Christian throughout history, which means that we wear the same armor as the Pilgrims did. They left everything they knew to cross the Atlantic Ocean just to worship God in peace. What bravery and faith they must have had.
To me, the courage and grit of the Pilgrims shed a new light on what it means to wear God’s armor in difficult times. William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony, acknowledged that the Puritans were in a spiritual battle when in Europe. In his book Plymouth Settlement, he wrote that when Satan could not stop the truths of the gospel from spreading in England, he reverted to persecutions. He sowed seeds of heresies, errors, and discord in the clergy themselves. This corruption struck the Puritans, but they fought back. Girded at the waist with truth, their breastplate of righteousness fastened, their shield of faith gripped, and their helmet of salvation on their heads, the Pilgrims won over a wild land that no other English settlement had tamed, in the name of Christ.
Thanksgiving is the time we remember the Pilgrims and all they faced and fought. They strove for the very unity that Ephesians teaches. They fought a spiritual battle and conquered. We too rejoice in that victory of religious freedom and partake in the victory feast!
By Alexandra Trefrey