On the calendar… that calendar we all know and love…. today was October 9th. All day long. The old 10-9.
I like sequential dates. Like 7-8, or 3-4. I even like them in reverse…. say 3-2. Just so long as they butt up like that. I am funny about my numbers.
But that isn’t what I was going to write about. Instead, I’d like to tell you about October 9th in the year 1635.
And… about a guy name Roger Williams. He was a bit of a religious dissident. A rebel. A revolutionary. He was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the General Court of Massachusetts on this date…. way back then.
The thing of it was, Old Roger did not like the fact that the people in charge… the Civil Authorities… were punishing religious dissension. Not only that… they were confiscating Indian land. Roger-Dodger did not like that one bit. So he told them so. And they kicked him out of Massachusetts.
So Roger Williams packed his bags and left the Bay State. There was a tribe of Indians called the Narragansett tribe. He established a settlement at the junction of two rivers near Narragansett Bay. And that is the exact place where Rhode Island is today!
Then, our boy Roger declared the settlement open to all those seeking freedom of conscience. He also asked for the removal of the church from civil matters. A whole big bunch of many dissatisfied Puritans came.
Taking the success of the venture as a sign from God, Williams named the community “Providence.”
Among those who found a haven in the nifty safe-place… of that new Rhode Island Colony was Anne Hutchinson. She had been exiled from Massachusetts for religious reasons too. Joe Cotton was along for the ride too. All for the same reason. Religious freedom.
Along with them were some of the first Jews to settle in North America, and the Quakers . In Providence, Roger Williams also founded the first Baptist church in America….AND…. he edited the first dictionary of Native-American languages.
So. There you have it. Before there was an America, there were people fighting for the American way. One of true freedom, equality, and human rights.
Providence, the word itself …. is a noun… meaning protective care. By definitions, this care is given by nature… or by God… or by a higher spiritual power.
Tonight, I sure do hope for Providence for our current country.
That it be held in protective care, by a force greater than humans.
Because right now, we surely need all the help we can get.
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. — Albert Schweitzer