Notes for a homily on the 400th anniversary of the first worship service in the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
In the Deuteronomy passage (Deuteronomy 11:10-15) the people of God learn about the land of promise, how God gives the growth, if we keep faith with him.
The Kingdom of Heaven likewise owes its growth to God. God only knows, God only sees, what we cannot. Planting, nurturing, growth, and harvest, are all due to him.
From the smallest beginning he makes great things.
These would have been words of some comfort to the Jamestown settlers who, 400 years ago today, held their first worship service using the 1559 Book of Common Prayer.
Today we use the same psalter they would have, that of Coverdale, and the Authorised Version of the Scripture lessons, which built upon the versions common in their day.
The growth from small settlement to great nations would have been a vision of Promised Land to them. But they were not the first dwellers in the land. The Kecoughtan people were there. Their very presence and their hospitality would remind the settlers that it is God who gives the growth.
Keep his commandments, be steward to his lands, the lands he has given to your care, for you to dwell in, and then you will prosper.
It is quite a promise: keep my commandments and I will husband your growth: your growth as a nation and a people, and most of all, and above all, as a people of God.
May 14, 2007.