March 14, 1644
Not a date well-known and to me that is a loss for our society. March 14,1644 is the date Roger Williams received his charter for the new plantation, in the New World, Rhode Island, the first community if its kind in the history of the world. March 14,1644 would eventually lead to July 4,1776.
There is a wonderful book by John Barry, Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul. I had heard that Roger William had founded Rhode Island and helped establish religious freedom in our country and that was it. In the words of Paul Harvey, “This is the rest of the story.”
The book begins, “This is a story of power.” And the story is true to the theme. The book covers the story of power involving kings, judges, Parliament, armies, churchmen, churches, Indians, communities, family and friends. It tells the story of how in the middle of a time when everyone is grasping for power one man risked everything he was and had to promote liberty of religion and the individual.
I have heard a story of how one group of South Sea Islanders believed they came to be. When asked where they came from they are reported to has said, “A vine came down from heaven and our ancestors came down the vine.” This seems to mirror a subconscious attitude of our society. What we have today just “came down from heaven” and we have no relation or connection to the past. This attitude is so far from the truth and much is lost from life if this is believed.
It recently occurred to me why I have sense of connection to the past. My family is from southern Indiana. I would visit my grandparents on their 40 acre farm several times a year and for 2-4 weeks in the summer. Usually about once a year we would visit around the county and see where they used to live and to visit cemeteries and visit the grave of those who preceded us. It seems that subconsciously I formed the impression that what I had just did not appear out of nothing. What I had and who I was influenced by a past and people who I did not know intimately but there was an effect anyway. Associated with this was a sense of gratitude for that connection, gratitude for not being total isolated in life.
I cannot remember the exact quote but C.S. Lewis discussed this connection. The idea was that we read and study about the past not to see how we have progressed and have a better understanding about life compared to the past but to discover the understandings about life which we may have lost or forgotten.
I am so grateful for so many people who have gone before me, who have paved the way for me so that I can have love, law and liberty.
If you did not get the hint I highly recommend the book on Roger Williams.
Have a blessed, grateful Thanksgiving.