AMERICA AND THE GREAT SHEPPARD: 1620 TO 1960 (PART 1 OF 2)
The Lord is My Sheppard…Psalms 23
By December 21, 1620, the Old World was fully aware that the New World was not located off the coast of China, but Cuba. Nevertheless the New World was far enough away that the trip required many arduous weeks on the open seas. In 1620 the New World was not yet bi-coastal or bi-sexual, had no Travelocity or Expedia specials, no Holiday Inn or Ritz Carleton suites, no Park Avenues or Sunset Strips, and no Red or Blue States. What it had was lots of new communicable diseases, low yield harvest seasons, and an infant mortality rate exceeded only by that on board Slave Ships crossing the Middle Passage. Contrary to contemporary folklore, New World settlers were far more often inspired by the potential for economic gain than religious conviction. These hearty settlers would soon realize they were no more capable of surviving New World challenges alone, than were sheep to find green pastures and still waters in the absence of their Sheppard.
Even with an attentive British Monarchy, manageable agrarian conditions, and a treasure-trove of soon to be discovered natural resources, what was needed for survival in the New World of 1620 was a Sheppard. Religious Pilgrims and Entrepreneurs alike realized their most valuable asset was trust in the Great Sheppard who’d crossed over with them, nestled in the posh cabin of His Word. These New World Sheep mixed their Faith and the Word, summoning the Great Sheppard. By his power and authority: all their wants were addressed absent re-supply pipelines, their security assured against a formidable indigenous foe, and they realized immunity to infections for which they bore no biological resistance. They experienced His presence in the disquiet valley, in the shadow of no place to retreat. They feasted on Word pudding and cups of more than enough.
Never did it occur to those who organized this sector of the New World into an America to disavow their dependence on the Great Sheppard. Its first President who proclaimed every man’s right to worship any Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience, also wrote, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible”. Founder class (high, low and in between) Americans, to numerous to mention, openly proclaimed their allegiance to the Great Sheppard. The Capital City of America itself was laid out architecturally in the sign of the Great Sheppard, as if it would be His forever. One beam of His Cross was formed by the Capitol Building and Lincoln Memorial, and the other by the White House and Jefferson Memorial. The Washington Monument, whose capstone was engraved, “Praise be to God”, occupied its center. In that America, the Great Sheppard was welcome at home, work, school and play.
The Great Sheppard lovingly nurtured His unique Nation of Sheep drawn from many flocks by rod and staff. Throughout American history, to include the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Agricultural, Industrial, and Technological Revolutions, the Great Sheppard maintained an urgent relationship with His melting pot flock. During these epic eras, America’s economic and emotional vibrancy were unmatched in the annals of history. Americas embrace of the Great Sheppard was so fertile: school days began in solemn reflection on Him, its currency advertised trust in Him, its most revered anthem implored His blessings, elected officials considered their duties sacred before civil, and His Word led America from the emotional disfiguration of slavery. The New World and its Sheep of every ilk belonged to the Sheppard.
Since the Vietnam War, Sexual and Counter-Cultural Revolutions, circa 1960, America’s relationship with the Great Sheppard has become increasingly discordant and distant. His purpose is being supplanted by the power, passion and pleasure addictions of the Sheep, the True Vine is being pruned to accommodate New Age foliage, and spiritual illumination is being dulled by the air bush of enlightenment. In this America, Politics, Economics and Religion adroitly campaign to create a New New America. Yet, absent an abiding relationship with the Great Sheppard; Politics constitutes no more than a choice between a blindfold and earplugs, Economics is a pseudo science where borrowed hope is substituted for assets, and Religion is but loss of personal liberty at the hands of another. Will America have to reprise the winter of 1620 before it shuns its New Old World fascination and returns to the fold of the Great Sheppard?
Coming PART 2 OF 2, COUNTRY WITHOUT A SHEPPARD: 1960 TO 2010