“Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:19-20)
As Scotland is voting for indepencence, many Europeans try to figure out what the consequenses would be if the Scots did say yes (even if the no-side has been leading in the polls). Would other areas like Catalonia or the Basque country gain fuel for their fight for independence as well? Would the nationalism that sparks European fascism and racism just increase, with devastating consquences? Or would everything just proceed as normal?
When I was in the UK, I asked some people from the Jesus Army what they thought about the Scottish independence election. As Jesus people who focus on the Kingdom of God rather than earthly governments, neither had very strong opinions – even though one of them said he could understand the nationalists since he himself was of welsh origin, but he also had studied English history and language and Oxford and explained to me that the UK really is a mixture of so many people groups, linguistic influences and nationalities. And even if the Scots and Welsh are not as pluralistic as the English, they too are children of Adam just like everyone else.
From a Christian perspective, nationalism is very artificial. The Old Testament recognizes that there are different people groups, but they are all related to each other and there’s nothing wrong with Ruth the Moabite to become the grandmother of David or the Gentiles being included into the Kingdom of God. Paul says that we are citizens of Heaven, he is a Jew to the Jew but a Gentile to the Gentiles and he encouraged Jewish Christians to submit to the Roman dictator rather than fight for independence as zealots.
Nationalism is just an idea, and ideas change. In my country, we used to view people differently dependent on which county (which are called “lands”) they were born in, but now we all call ourselves Swedes. In the future perhaps we’ll all call ourselves Europeans, who knows. I don’t find one artificial definition better than the other. What is important is that we belong to the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom is not dependent on race, nationality or language but whether we have given our lives to Jesus Christ.