The City on a Hill. The Light of the World. How far have we fallen.
Now the religious right say that we are a Christian nation. I disagree. That is one of the points of my blog. Our nation is not Christian. It is far from it.
But I do believe that our founders did base this nation on Judeo-Christian values. Values like love, truth, and humility.
The founder of the Plymouth Colony John Winthrop quoted Matthew 5:14. He said that “we are a city on a hill and all the eyes of the world is upon us.”
The Puritans came to start a new land free of persecution and where they could create a land that would have the values that the old world lacked. No kings, no nobility, a purer life. Although it didn’t take long for sinful human tendencies to corrupt this new land. Our slaughter of the Native Americans is still a stain on this land.
Abraham Lincoln fought against slavery based on his religious beliefs. A famous statement of his was “it doesn’t matter if God is on my side. What matters is that I am on His side.”
Christians are supposed to be beacons of light in a world of darkness. Christians are supposed to show the world another way and our way of love, truth, justice, and humility will bring people back to Christ.
Somewhere along the way a segment of American Christianity was twisted by politics. The doctrines that you believed became more important than the deeds you do in God’s name. Somewhere along the line, the image of the man who feeds the hungry, the family that brings a refugee family to stay with them, a woman who starts a campaign to free an innocent man from death row stopped being the image of Christianity.
What took it’s place in the nation’s consciousness are a politician condemning gay marriage while having kinky sex with prostitutes, a pastor who has private jets and many cars and a palatial mansion while many of his flock are living paycheck to paycheck, and Christian leaders who are the inverse of Jesus and support a man who if he had a D after his name they would condemn.
A Shining city on a hill is an inspiration to everyone who gazes upon it. The light that true Christians show in their love and their deeds of love is a warm glow that once you feel it. You don’t want it to go away.
These people have made American Christianity into the hot oppressive sun in a desert. The light that burns. The light that kills.
Thankfully there are many shining lights. The problem is that the desert Suns are much louder and better at publicity. That anthe true lights are usually so humble, they do their work in secret.
We must come out of the shadows and be the light. We must do our deeds in public. Not to make us look good but to show what Jesus can do. We must regain our prophetic voice and speak up against hypocrisy and injustice with a loud, firm, and loving voice.
I am going to end this with a segment of a speech that Ronald Reagan gave in 1980. I am not a fan. I think most of the problems of today started in the 1980s. But look at how different this is to what we hear from Trump
“These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; or Democrats or Republicans. They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still…a shining city on a hill.”
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.