Scythians and the person sitting next to you at Church
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
I just love when Bible study encompasses history and horror and connects it to church life. I am not sure who you would categorize as a “Scythian” in your mind and heart but everyone has someone that represents.
Who makes your skin crawl and sets you off in a knee-jerk trigger? What issue provokes you to want to move seats or attend a church service elsewhere?
How about who someone voted for in the last election?
What they do in their private sex lives?
What they eat or don’t eat, their nationality, skin color, language or the car they drive?
Nail biters, open-mouthed chewers, drinkers, smokers or tokers?
Southerners, Northerners, West-siders or…Californians?
Blood-Eaters, Vegans, Tree-huggers or Pro-Lifers?
Catholics, Mormons, Baptists or Tongue-talkers?
Virgins, Sluts, Old people or Millennials?
Men, Women, Crying babies or runny nosed knee-bitters with smelly pants?
Normies, Rappers, Lumberjacks or Parents who put their kids in daycare?
Homeschoolers, Creationists, Atheists, Anti-Vaxers or Politicians?
Loud Talkers, Huggers, Weepers or Creepers?
Fat people, thigh-gap girls, botoxed or the dirty and toothless?
Who are your Scythians?
Do you see Christ or…only Categories?
A little history:
The Scythians were a terribly violent group of people who lived just north of the Black Sea. They were Eurasian, Horsemen, Nomads.
“…no invader who comes against them can ever escape and how none can catch them if they do not wish to be caught. For this people has no cities or settled forts; they carry their houses with them and shoot with bows from horseback; they live off herds of cattle, not from tillage, and their dwellings are on their wagons”..
The Most Savage of the Barbarians:
“In what concerns war, their customs are the following. The Scythian soldier drinks the blood of the first man he overthrows in battle. Whatever number he slays, he cuts off all their heads, and carries them to the king; since he is thus entitled to a share of the booty, whereto he forfeits all claim if he does not produce a head. In order to strip the skull of its covering, he makes a cut round the head above the ears, and, laying hold of the scalp, shakes the skull out; then with the rib of an ox he scrapes the scalp clean of flesh, and softening it by rubbing between the hands, uses it thenceforth as a napkin. The Scyth is proud of these scalps, and hangs them from his bridle-rein; the greater the number of such napkins that a man can show, the more highly is he esteemed among them. Many make themselves cloaks, like the capotes of our peasants, by sewing a quantity of these scalps together. Others flay the right arms of their dead enemies, and make of the skin, which stripped off with the nails hanging to it, a covering for their quivers. Now the skin of a man is thick and glossy, and would in whiteness surpass almost all other hides. Some even flay the entire body of their enemy, and stretching it upon a frame carry it about with them wherever they ride. Such are the Scythian customs with respect to scalps and skins.
“The skulls of their enemies, not indeed of all, but of those whom they most detest, they treat as follows. Having sawn off the portion below the eyebrows, and cleaned out the inside, they cover the outside with leather. When a man is poor, this is all that he does; but if he is rich, he also lines the inside with gold: in either case the skull is used as a drinking-cup. They do the same with the skulls of their own kith and kin if they have been at feud with them, and have vanquished them in the presence of the king. When strangers whom they deem of any account come to visit them, these skulls are handed round, and the host tells how that these were his relations who made war upon him, and how that he got the better of them; all this being looked upon as proof of bravery.”
-Source: Herodotus’s “Histories”, Book IV, 440 B.C., translated by George Rawlinson