By: Brian Scott
A prophet once said that the one who trusts the Master will be “like a tree planted near water. It spreads out its roots by the river; and it does not even notice when the heat comes. Its foliage is luxuriant; it does not worry during a year of drought, it just keeps on giving fruit.”
For the remainder of the discussion, the tree will be serving us as a sign of Messianic Nationalism. The tree is one plant, composed of various parts. Beginning as a small seed, invisible within the earth, it establishes roots. As the roots feed that seed, it sends forth a shoot which springs up from the still quiet earthy expanse out into a bustling new time and place. The trunk thickens as roots and branches reach further into earth and sky. As the root system keeps drinking from the continual stream this tree becomes mighty and robust with leaves. Thousands of branches of all sizes now engulf the sky thick with a hundred shades of green, yellow, and red. Finally it reaches its goal. During the most hopeless drought it perseveres cleaning the air, producing leaves that heal the nations [a new fruit to harvest at the end of each month], and offering shade to the weary traveler. This towering oak is Messianic Nationalism.
Stokely Carmichael is a Trinidadian born Black American who lived from 1941 to 1998. He contributed greatly to the American Civil Rights movement as a community organizer, philosopher, author, and public speaker. Carmichael became involved with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] as an undergraduate attending Howard University at the age of 19. He later went on to serve as the SNCC chairman in the subsequent years. Stokely Carmichael is also credited with coining the term “Black Power” and he filled that phrase with socio-economic and cultural substance, from his study and practice of community organizing, which birthed a movement.
Stokely expressed his deep devotion to the peoplehood of blacks in the U.S. by endorsing,
“a call for Black People to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community… to begin defining their own goals, to lead their own organizations and support these organizations.”
The previous essay addressed how the body of believers was never meant to think of themselves as a collection of individuals, but as a People. Consider the possibility that what Carmichael was suggesting for the benefit of black America is a great template for continuing our discussion on Messianic Nationalism.
This quote begins with a call for a people to unite. It has already been recounted how the Messiah’s dying prayer was for the unity of his people. The remainder of the quote can be read as elaboration and implications of what it would mean for his people to unite. First of all, he says unity means recognizing their heritage [their roots]. Then, he mentions the building of a sense of community. This might also be described as a shared identity [their seed]. Next, Carmichael says they are to “begin defining their own goals.” They must understand their purpose [their trunk]. It cannot be dictated to them by other groups. And then finally, he mentions the need to “lead their own organizations” and “support” those organizations. This can be taken to mean that a nation of people must have a culture, customs, and traditions which organize, structure, and sustain their life together [their foliage and fruit].
These seem to be necessary elements of peoplehood. Every nation and tribe has had to establish these things for themselves, but to the extent that a group outsources the management of their heritage, identity, purpose, culture, and sustenance to the surrounding society, they cease to be a unified people.