Sunday, September 06, 2015

We Are All Economic Migrants : Part 1

Theologically speaking, to be human is to be an economic migrant.

In Genesis – origins, from which the human story unfolds - chapter one, we are told that God creates human beings and commissions them to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.

To be fruitful and multiply: to reproduce; but also to fulfil the commission, and find fulfilment in the ongoing process of fulfilling the commission; and also for that commission to be replicated faithfully, passed on to every human being.

To fill the earth and subdue it: to spread; but also to move from place to place, in able to train the fruitfulness of the earth to a sustainable harvest – of food, of beauty, of fulfilled purpose – in which all creation is provided for.

This is fundamental to the human condition. And so, whenever human beings are not able to be fruitful in a given context (and taking into account hard work, necessary in every context) they migrate in search of a place in the world where they can be fruitful.

This is borne out throughout history, whether people moving on their own (highly unusual in the big picture) or as a family within relative stability among the wider population; or villages or communities, such as the Scottish highlanders who were evicted from their homes by English landlords and emigrated to North America; or entire people groups, such as the Celts, who migrated from modern-day Turkey to modern-day Switzerland and then again to modern-day Scotland and Ireland.

Nomadic peoples migrate along familiar (though not set-in-stone) orbits, in harmony with the rhythms of the earth’s fruitfulness, and in disregard of political lines on the map. Borders are almost always arbitrary and opportunistic – and even where they are not these things, they are always provisional – and the blood shed over them surely demonstrates that they are both un-defendable and indefensible.

Any attempt to hold back the ebb and flow, the emigration and immigration, of humans beings is as futile as attempting to control the relentless waves of the sea – being, as it is, an attempt to oppose our fundamental nature.


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