Written on November 25, 2015. By Shari Norvell
Kidnapped. Stolen. Twice. Once to be paraded. Once to be plundered. Squanto. Lost and found. Traded till treasured.
On one of Squanto’s six trips across the Atlantic, he was captured by a British captain sent to explore the coastline of Maine and Massachusetts. The captain came across some natives, and thinking his backers might want to see Indians, commandeered them. Without authority he took possession of them and delivered them to England and his boss Sir Ferdinando.
And then something remarkable happened. The fine Sir Ferdinando saw beyond the need Squanto thought he had, straight into the necessity inside. He took Squanto in, teaching him the language of that land, until he was able to hire him as an interpreter. Squanto found a language in a land that he would one day need in his. Sir F found seeds within Squanto that needed a field to be planted in. Little did Squanto know that in a day to come, he would teach others to plant in their own field.
Being known made Squanto bold and he asked for a mighty thing. To return to the shores upon which he was discovered. The emboldened answer was yes! On the next journey, Squanto set sail. It was then that the second stealing occurred. Not only stolen. Sold. For so much less than the worth. 20 shillings was enough for one man to sell him into slavery in Spain. But the price had been paid long ago. And it was time for Squanto to find the Founder.
The roamer was now refugee, fleeing the falsehood that he was worthless. How wonderful it is that one is only a refugee until refuge is found!! Within Squanto’s escape, refuge found him in the form of some monks. They wrapped him up in the blanket of belief and he found something that could never be stolen. Pappa.
A few years later, he returned to the distant shores that were home. In his years away, his tribe had been decimated by a plague. Bereft but not beaten, he returned to all his land held for him, finding once more the treasures inside.
And then the happening. A ship of refugees drifted upon the shore. A man who had lost everything met them with much to give away.
The pilgrimed people had their own story of flight. Separation from law that buried love began their journey. Some might say they were naive and underestimated the struggles and and dangers they would face. Others might say they chose to trust God no matter what. When they landed upon the shores, the were ready for one thing, refuge.
They would recognize it when they saw it in the face of those who stood bravely on the beach. For they had entered it before in the land of Holland. A land of religious tolerance is quite a vague description of what the rovers found there. They found refuge in a group of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain who had been exiled, yet they chose exodus. For centuries the Jewish people dwelt in Holland’s haven.
These persecuted peoples found each other on the other side of their red seas. The pilgrims remained in the refuge for ten years before completing their junket to America. And with them, they took what they found. There was no theft, for it was freely given.
Upon the harbor of hope they landed. Trust had led them there. And He was found faithful. Though Squanto’s experiences could have given him cause to protect himself, he didn’t. For trust led him to the strand the people stood on. And they all had something to give.
Squanto revealed to the pilgrims that a place had been prepared for them. The rivers teemed with fish. The bushes were berry filled. And the field he would teach them to plant in was fertile. Their wilderness birthed them into bounty.
Harvest came and with it the pilgrim’s desire to release refuge. There was a feast they witnessed and welcomed year by year in Holland. Sukkot. A celebration all about being refuge. And so they set the stage. The 20 acres (gotta love they were given enough to begin!) they were given for planting, poured out a harvest beyond measure.
Chief Massasoit of a nearby encampment was invited to the party. An expected visitor who arrived a day early with a troop of ushpizin (unexpected guests). 90 to be exact. The feasters almost despaired. There wasn’t enough. Their winter supply would be squandered to nothing. Unless. Unless they realized that being refuge means you don’t ask how soon a guest goes, but how long they can stay. The chief (and his tribe, eventually) were invited for one dinner. They stayed seven days. A real feast takes a while.
The pilgrims had been through great trials, but knew beyond knowing that they had never been forsaken. Trusting, they tendered all they had, only to discover that the entourage at their door was not empty handed. Wild turkeys, fruits, vegetables and other delicacies filled arms and tumbled to tables. More than enough. Multiplied by imperfect people with perfect love.
Later, the choice to remain refuge for each other would be ever before them. It remains before us. They wouldn’t always choose well. We don’t always either. When we leave refuge, we no longer are refuge. We don’t alway choose to linger until the feast is full. We leave our refuge far more often then we dare to admit. Rovers with an itinerary and a “how long till we get there?”. He beckons us back. And when we are found, we unearth all that we gained in discovering HIM. Secure all there is yet to give away. And life becomes about how long we can stay, not how quickly we can go.
We are all refugees until we find refuge. Journal about a time of flight. A time when you were fleeing a falsehood you believed. A time you sought shelter and the key to the door was trust.
Now, journal what you found, the increase, the add, the gain. And thank him. Thank him again. And again. Add to Him as He has added to you. Write down your thanks giving and then offer it to Him in the tomorrows ahead. Start your days with it.