Mayflower Freedom

“Christian freedom does not mean being free to do as we like; it means being free to do as we ought.” -William Barclay

The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock 400 years ago this week. On December 18, 1620, 102 passengers and about 30 crew members stepped off the overcrowded ship and onto the shore near what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. The world has never been the same.

Economic opportunity and adventure drove some of the passengers, but religious liberty motivated the Pilgrims. Discord and differences almost divided the group. So before they stepped off the boat, they drafted and adopted the Mayflower Compact outlining how they would live together in their new surroundings.

The price of liberty was high; disease, harsh weather, childbirth, and drowning claimed 45 lives during the first winter! We still enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice 400 years later. But each generation must protect and pass forward what others have entrusted to it.

Paul’s warning to the Galatians still applies today. “ . . .do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. . . If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:13-15)

We must use our freedoms well. What has survived for 400 years is not guaranteed for tomorrow.


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