A city upon a hill s a phrase from the parable of Salt and Light in Jesus‘ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:14, he tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” America as a nation cannot be hidden. It is a participant in the global economy and is expected to lead by example; our recessions are felt all over the world. After World War II, we went against the advice of our first president (George Washington), became part of a permanent alliance known as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Association), and became the home base of the United Nations. Our obligation to the protection of human rights is not hidden to the rest of the world either.
While the Sermon on the Mount describes a shining city upon a hill, what is the shining city on the hill? For many bible scholars, it refers to the city of Zion, and the hill is a reference to the highest point in God’s universe, Heaven. The biblical reference to those who are saved (through the blood of Jesus for Christians) never call any real estate on Earth their permanent home and never arrive at anything; that we are lifelong sojourners that won’t rest until [we] make it to Zion. The biblical reference is the origin of Ronald Reagan’s reference to the American character; that we look at success as a journey and not a destination and even if have the best in the world (i.e., America is the greatest country in the world), we will continue to make it better until the day we meet our creator, and even then, before we depart from those surly bonds of Earth, we will pass it on to the next generation to continue to make it better. What is in store for America? Greatness, so long as we are willing to polish this shining city on the hill losing its luster due to 9-11-2001, the prevailing wars (Afghanistan and Iraq), the economic downfall of 2008, and continued rising fuel prices and multi trillion dollar national debt. Morning in America is going to arrive again no matter what. Will it be a warm, sunny morning? Or will it be cold and murky?
For those of us who believe in the American Dream and its resurrection, the best is yet to come. We cannot be hidden from any foreign country, friend or foe. And you cannot please all the people all the time. Why try? Wouldn’t it be better just to please one? The creator of this shining city upon a hill we call America, as well as everything else on the universe. Let’s make America, the shining city, the ultimate meeting place to glorify God. With God, all things are possible. The seemingly impossible tasks of balancing the budget, clean and green energy, a world-class educational system, and made in America goods we can be proud of, although none are guaranteed, are most-likely to be achieved if we turn it over to God. If any or all doesn’t happen, God may not yet be ready to answer or prayers and/or he may have something better in store. Let’s make America the number one producer in the glorification of God; then the hill becomes the metaphor for world greatness as we would not want to be hidden, we would be proud to expose our greatness for all the world to see. Think this violates separation of church and state? Then read my previous blog entry. In paragraph four, I clearly define what separation of church and state really is. We are in fact one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. If this is really what we are, we should be button-popping proud to be a shining city on a hill.