By: Brian Scott
Have you ever heard the phrase “This is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!”? It is attributed to Adam. If you think about it for a moment that quote expresses a sentiment of “One-ness”, a level of relationship that is often missing in the world today.
If you’re familiar with the creation stories in Genesis you probably remember the creator[s] deciding that humanity should be made in their likeness. Well I believe that the “One-ness” which Adam expressed was a large part of what it meant for humanity to reflect the divine image and likeness it was created in.
However, when destruction entered Eden, Adam [aka Ish: the male half of humanity at creation] had a different sentiment to express, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Quickly, he sets out to absolve himself from involvement with both Eve [or Isha: the female half of humanity] and from his creator by saying, “The woman- you gave….she…”
As generations rolled by and humanity increased in diversity this attitude of distancing and separating for the sake of SELF- preservation has stayed with us. The more we became infatuated with saving our own lives, the further we wandered from the garden. But just as the instinct to save our own skin has stayed with us it’s equally true that our original purpose to reflect divine One-ness cannot be undone.
Even in our splintered state, all people still have an instinct, a spark of desire for togetherness. This relational instinct keeps us trying to establish groups even under the most transitory banners. In our attempts to gather under these imperfect banners, we often assemble at the expense of others.
But a way has been made. The Eternal One, our creator, has been working to offer himself as an eternal banner that all humanity can assemble under. Over and over he has chosen (what appears to be) the most insignificant people and circumstances to achieve this goal. His providential handprints continue to appear on the tapestry of human history as it unfolds.
He became the god of Avram, Yitzhak, and Ya’akov to draw a Nation of Families, and from this Nation of Families he drew out their greatest leader, Yeshua the LORD’s Messiah. Yeshua once prayed:
“The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one.” The Messiah was chosen for this reason: To lead his Nation of Families back into One-ness with each other and with their creator. And this time it will endure forever.
Forever… A nation that endures forever…Where is that Nation of Families now? We know that within 100 years of the resurrection, Gentiles were being added to his Hebrew People. But over time it seems that believers gradually drifted from thinking of themselves as citizens of the Messiah’s Nation, to individuals who attend the local church building on Sundays. There’s a problem with that… the Messiah did not live, die, and live again for you and for me. He came, to deliver “us”. He came to redeem a People.
“…during the Selma March, Abernathy introduced Martin Luther King with a stirring speech. He reminded his audience that “God never leaves his people without a leader.” When we [Native Americans] heard those words we knew….It was then merely a question of waiting until blacks began to explore peoplehood… and then consider tribalism and nationalism.”
The above quote is taken from Vine Deloria Jr., a prominent Native American thinker and leader of the late 20h century. He was born in 1933 and passed on in November of 2005. For three years Deloria served as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.
What Deloria recognized in Abernathy’s words was a shift in thinking for Blacks. A shift from making decisions separately, to moving as a “People” unified behind a leader. Those words, “his People”, materialized in the form of thousands of African Americans marching as one, through Alabama for five days until arriving in mass on the capitol steps.
We live in a society which aims to minimize the day-to-day need that people have for each other. But we were made for One-ness.
The Question that’s inspiring this series of articles is:
“What does it look like for an Eternal People to thrive among temporary Nations?”
More specifically, “How do we advance Messianic Nationalism while living in the United States?”
Please allow me to have privilege of introducing you to the thoughts and dreams of Vine Deloria Jr and other Native American and Black Nationalist thinkers such as: Stokely Carmichael, W.E.B. Dubois, Sterling Stuckey, Paul Robeson, Fredrick Douglas, and others. In a land where many left behind what they had known in order to pursue the American Dream, these leaders were searching for ways to maintain the unique peoplehood of their ancestors. They spent their lifetimes considering how to resist being assimilated by American society. And I believe that today, Churches in the United States have much wisdom to gain from them.
This is a series on Messianic Nationalism.