Freedom Through All Generations
Today is the day we traditionally celebrate the Epiphany – commemorating when the wise men visited and confirmed the birth of Jesus. A sense of both clamor and blessing for generations marked this extraordinary occurrence and still is palpable today. Jesus was born outside of his parent’s homeland and grew up partially in Egypt; as many children today from parents who are refugees around the world, Jesus experienced uncertain days with his parents.
The narrative and early years of Jesus reflect the struggles that people worldwide face due to oppression and inequality. However, the arrival of His light brought hope. We celebrate his light in Epiphany amid winter darkness in the northern hemisphere.
Epiphany leads us to this sense of beginning again. Once again, individuals are crossing territories and suffering inequality.
As we read Psalm 72:1-7, we reflect on this prayer:
Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judges your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.
May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor.
May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.
In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
This prayer is significant because it is the voice of Solomon who asked God for protection over all generations. That their lives have enough days to see the many suns and moons through the years. Just as there are times of anguish and injustice, there will come times of clarity of truth and flourishing for the next generations.
Today, many people in the country see migration across the southern border as wrong without asking WHO is migrating? However, for centuries, people have migrated across territories between north and south. Our continent had a name before Europeans arrived, Abya Yala in the Guna language: Land of vital blood and fruitful land. Abya Yala was renamed by Europeans to America in 1507.
The continent was not empty. The land was cultivated, developed remarkable civilizations, and native populations lived in closer harmony with nature. But the process of colonization, enslavement, and other sins broke the continent into pieces.
Abya Yala was divided. Families, communities, and native nations were separate during colonization to create Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, and 35 countries. The nation-states that arose out of colonization aim to put the pieces back together with concrete borders. Still, these edifices bring oppression, inequality, and poverty to native populations.
Now in the United States, it is possible to think that native people are the ones who crossed borders? How do we see the native population of Abya Yala as aliens or strangers? How can native individuals who lived here for centuries, such as K’iche, Cocopah, Gunas, Quechuas, and Mapuches, be strangers on their own mountains, rivers, and lands?
As Native American descendants, we have a collective memory over the last five centuries. Even though people see us as invisible, we are still here throughout the generations. As we say, “they tried to bury us, but they do not know [ they the colonizers) that we were seeds.” The truth is that we are flourishing, and it’s God’s time for Abya Yala people, to pray as Solomon writes in Psalms, “May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness.”
Not only did the native people suffer forced migration and oppression for generations, the motherland, the Pachamama (Quechua language for motherland) is suffering for generations. The land’s abundance has been degraded due to the privatization of the land, colonization, and climate change. The ongoing use of homogenous mono-crops is damaging the land and the future of us all. Our land can no longer feed our children. It cries out for liberation, the message of the liberating Jesus, freedom of the land. Freedom from the oppressive borders which divide.
Let us remember and never forget our brothers and sisters who migrated north in their own continent because of oppression and famine – this is not a crime. They are leaving their land because of a lack of food because the rains no longer come, and the grounds do not produce. The climatic changes are compounded by violence, governmental instability, and systematic oppression and injustice. Their long walks make them tired and hopeless, walking hundreds of miles on foot arriving at invented borders and private territories. The US border, as we know, is not ancient, instead only 150 years since the US expanded and took lands once held by Spain (over 300 years ago it was called New Spain ) and then Mexico since 1821.
Even as we denounce the atrocities committed by the authorities at the border, we must endeavor to know and welcome those crossing. For the native population, the Southern border walls that have been constructed are a symbol of colonization once again. These people are our brothers and sisters and forced to migrate due to a critical situation, vulnerable populations living in the worst lands, placed in less productive places with crumbs.
Migration is not easy, dispossession of the land, neither.
God protect our brothers and sisters in their journey!
They are situations of injustice! Pain is in their hand and feet.
Therefore, migration must also be considered a way of survival, especially the Native population whose freedoms are limited in their way.
Today we celebrate the Epiphany and new year. However, this land can endure as long as the sun for all generations.
Let us welcome Jesus the True Liberator’s appearance by welcoming the stranger and taking care of the environment.
Together we pray:
We thank you for all Life.
From the womb, you knew us, and from the beginning of our life in humanity, you are the Creator planting, pouring, and producing life in abundance.
Life of abundance,
Life full of dreams,
Life completed with love.
Mother Creator provides us the corn and beans to grow,
Provide us potato, corn and quinoa to feed our family
Provide us with a heart to share and grow in community.
Land without border
Land of abundance
Land full of dreams
Land completed with love
We are grateful for Your care because, from the beginning You knew us.
We share from Your abundance and grace.
We believe in your protection for our next generations and over you protect us always.
Psychologist and Public Theologian. Yenny Delgado is a native descendant, and has a deep appreciation of her cultural roots. Yenny has worked with social movements and local churches for over a decade, advocating for improved gender equality and ending racism in the Church. She is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church USA and founder of PUBLICA (www.publicatheology.org). Currently, she is a doctoral student in Science of Religion at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.