The bright girl knelt, bathed in repentant tears

Connecting link between two hemispheres.

~ Mary Webster Mosby, “Pocahontas, A Legend”

, via Wikimedia Commons; http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABaptism_of_Pocahontas.jpg”]

By John Gadsby Chapman (photograph courtesy Architect of the Capitol) (Architect of the Capitol) [Public domain

The words still hang in the US Capitol Building. Congress has displayed them for over a century, but they’re hidden from the public eye. They proclaim one woman’s legacy – her declaration of independence.

  • Everyone knows who Pocahontas is.

Of course, what most people think they know isn’t true. Most youngsters perceive comes from the animated Disney movie, which isn’t factual. But her legacy persists in the charisma she has in the public domain.

  • America might not be what it is today without her.

Although we can’t know the exact details of her rescue of Captain John Smith at Jamestown, her courage to prevent his murder was a defining moment in American history. At a time when most teenagers wouldn’t challenge seasoned warriors, the young princess didn’t hesitate to do so.

  • She acted against unjustified aggression.

Her actions mirrored those of the Founding Fathers when they signed The Declaration of Independence. Although we don’t have her own words preserved as we do other documents, a portrait in the US Capitol Building does indicate her declaration of independence.

  • Her witness persists to modern times.

As visitors take in the famous Rotunda paintings, we see great moments in American history: the discoveries of Columbus and De Soto, the perseverance of the Pilgrims, and the Founding Fathers in their actions that forged the nation we love. At first, The Baptism of Pocahontas might seem out of place with these other displays.

  • Yet, it shows something about Pocahontas that most don’t consider.

It demonstrates how a pagan renounced her mythological gods to become a follower of the One True God. To proclaim her witness before the world, the young Christian underwent baptism, which commemorates her dying to the old way of living and rising to a new life in Christ.

  • Her declaration went beyond this act though.

Written on the back of this painting isn’t the name of Pocahontas. Instead, if one investigates by lifting the frame, they’ll find the name she preferred for the rest of her life: Rebecca Rolfe. She no longer considered herself according to her former unbelieving ways.

  • She declared her independence from paganism.

She identified with the only One who could assure her with a new identity – Jesus Christ. Her new name was evidence of that new life, which now continues in His eternal presence.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

~ 2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV

How do you declare your independence today?