“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many…
We watched the Ken Burns PBS American Experience on the Pilgrims the other night – the journey of a group of English religious separatists, who fled to Holland to be able to practice their religion without hindrance, and later sailed to America on The Mayflower. The story follows the sad beginnings of one of the original pilgrims, William Bradford, who lost most of his family as a child – His devotion to the Bible – and his record of the first 30 years of the Plymouth Plantation. He later would go on to be governor of the colony.
As the beautiful film began to unfold, they often showed entries into Bradford’s journal, written by hand and preserved for centuries. It was used by other historians in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was originally in the Old South Church of Boston, Massachusetts but then disappeared. It later turned up in London and returned to the United States in 1897.
The films, as all Ken Burns productions, is beautifully photographed and in addition to the actual story, shows the importance of Bradford’s documentation of those early years. Every word was meticulously crafted on rag paper, by hand and endured for 400 years.
The written word – crafted by hand – written in cursive – which is rarely seen anymore. So sad. Our world has changed so much, that many schools no longer teach cursive writing. I often would write notes to students in cursive during my working years, and they had to have me read them, because they couldn’t. Cursive writing has become a lost art, I’m afraid.
There is another book that has endured the centuries. It remains the number one selling book of all times. It’s not the work of man, but God Himself. He inspired the precise words to be written and they have withstood the test of time. The beauty of this book is that it continues to prove itself. We can see that throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The original words were undoubtedly penned on animal skins or papyrus, but still they remain. God has insured that His Word He still will let remain.
We’re all pilgrims on this planet. Each day a new adventure awaits us. Let us never forget who put us here in the first place.