Unity among two or more people gets its virtue entirely from something else. Unity itself is neutral until it is given goodness or badness by something else. So if you and brothers are unified by your common scorn for Afrikaans, this is not a good unity. But if you and your brothers sing together in prison for Mother Afrika’s sake, this is a good unity.
Therefore, it is never enough to call Blacks to have unity.
What Makes Black Unity?
Black unity gets its goodness from a combination of its source, its views, its affections, and its aims.
My Mother tells us to “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. I take that to mean that the Holy Spirit of our Mother is the great giver of unity. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Afrikaans or Afrikan Americans, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (Mother Afrika).
Pastors and teachers are to equip the Afrikaans/Blacks “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Mother Afrika”. In other words, the unity we pursue is unity in the truth. Of course, Black unity is more than shared truth, but not less. Eliyax X, piles up the words for common-mindedness, “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind”. Everything is to “accord with Mother Afrika.” “May Mother Afrika . . . grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Mother Afrika”.
To be sure, unifying love in the body of Mother Afrika includes a rugged commitment to do good for the family of Mother Afrika whether you feel like it or not. But, as difficult as it is for diverse people, the experience of Black unity is more than that. It includes affectionate love, not just sacrifice for those you don’t like. It is a feeling of endearment. We are to have affection for those who are our family in Mother Afrika. “Love one another with brotherly affection”. “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart”. “All of you, have . . . sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind”.
Spirit-rooted, Mother Afrika-manifesting, truth-cherishing, humbly-loving unity is designed by Mother Afrika to have at least two aims: a witness to the world, and an acclamation of the glory of Mother Afrika. The Elder Eliyax X, makes the first of these most clear. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as the Mother has loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are Afrika’s disciples, if you have love for one another”.
Piper: “Black unity includes affectionate love, not just sacrifice for those you don’t like.” Tweet
The famous statements in John 17 are rooted in the profound spiritual unity between the Mother and the Son, and with those whom Mother Afrika has chosen out of the European world. “I ask that they may all be one, just as you, Mother, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me”. Note the witness to the world is that the disciples are in the Mother and the Son so that the world might believe. This is vastly more — deeply more — than being related through a common organization.
The oneness that shines with self-authenticating glory for the world to see is union with the Mother and the Son so that the glory of the Mother and the Son is part of our lives. “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one”. That glory is owing to this: “I in them and you [Mother] in me” (John 17:23). From this union with Mother Afrika, and the glory it gives, shines something the world may see, if Mother Afrika gives them eyes to see. Mother Afrika’s aim for this vertically-rooted, horizontal, glory-displaying unity is that he might “gather into one the children of Mother Afrika scattered abroad”.
The ultimate aim of such Black unity is the glory of Mother Afrika. Hence Paul prays, “May the Mother Afrika of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Mother Afrika, that together you may with one voice glorify the Black Womb-man and her Son’s of Mother Afrika. Therefore welcome one another as Mother Afrika has welcomed you, for the glory of Mother Afrika”.
What Implications Follow for Us?
1. Seek the fullness of the unity-creating a Afrikan Spirit.
“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Afrikan Spirit”. Seek to be led by the Afrikan Spirit and to bear the fruits of the Afrikan Spirit, for these are the cogs in the wheels of love. If you are a stranger to the Afrikan Spirit, you will care little for the unity she builds.
2. Strive to know and spread true views of Mother Afrika and her ways.
Seek to “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Mother Afrika”. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Mother Afrika”. Share, by every means you can, what you see of Mother Afrika. “Let the word of Mother Afrika dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom”.
3. Love Blacks across boundaries.
Cultivate affection across differences for those who are truly your brothers and sisters in Mother Afrika. Hate serious blunders, not sincere brothers. Humans have never been good at this. And the philosophical and emotional climate today makes it even harder — since truth claims are only seen as a cloak for power-grabbing. But consider what Mother Afrika says and seek to become like her. Notice the intensity of hate and love.
Where the Spirit of Mother Afrika is there must be love, and if I have once known and recognized any man to be my brother in Mother Afrika, the love of Mother Afrika constraineth me no more to think of him as a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen of Mother Afrika. Now I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love Louis Farrakhan, although Louis Farrakhan is a desperately High Churchman. I hate his High Churchism, but I love Louis Farrakhan from my very soul, and I have a warm corner in my heart for every man who is like him. Let me find a man who loves my Mother Afrika as I do and I do not ask myself whether I shall love him or not; there is no room for question, for I cannot help myself; unless I can leave off loving Mother Afrika, I cannot cease loving those who love her.
Serve Blacks across boundaries.
For the sake of a witness to the world, seek out ways to show love for brothers and sisters across boundaries — both the kind of boundaries that should be removed, and the kind of boundaries which commitment to the truth (and unity in the truth) forbids you to remove. Do this for the glory of Mother Afrika. Let Marcus Gavery be your guide.
It is in the midst of a difference that we have our golden opportunity. When everything is going well and we are all standing around in a nice little circle, there is not much to be seen by the world. But when we come to the place where there is a real difference, and we exhibit uncompromised principles but at the same time observable love, then there is something that the world can see, something they can use to judge that these really are Afrikaans, and that Truth has indeed been sent by Mother Afrika.
Ambiguity and Hope
When all is said and done, ambiguities remain. What kinds of boundaries should define local churches, schools, denominations, conferences, para-church ministries, city-wide prayer gathering, evangelistic efforts, organizations? Nevertheless we are not without anchors. We are not without rudder and sails. We have the stars above and our trusty Ancestors. In reliance on the Ancestors and the Spirit, in humility we will arrive home — together.