Nena Arias | July 25, 2022
“A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…
let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14, 16)
These Scripture verses above found in Matthew of “a city on a hill” and “let you light shine before others…” were Scriptures that were very well known in the founding of America since 98% of the early colonists were of the Christian faith. The emphasize in the context of these verses is that Jesus said to his followers, “you are the light of the world” (v. 15).
The above verses are part of the all-important discourse by Jesus known as the Sermon on the Mount, that encompasses chapters five, six and seven of Matthew. These chapters are sometimes referred to as the core teachings of the Bible. Meaning, if these were the only three chapters we had and practiced what they teach, we would be on a good path to living life as God the Father expects of us.
How does this phrase “a city on a hill” apply to us in this country of the United States of America? And why is that important?
These phrases have been used by presidents and patriots in regard to America for four hundred years. Why are they used and what do they mean?
It has everything to do with the main purpose for the establishment of this new nation by the Pilgrims and the Puritans as expressed in their writings about the purpose that brought them here. The Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower clearly established their purpose for coming here in the first official document drawn up to formalize their objective The Mayflower Compact. It clearly says “…Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith…”.
Ten years after the initial Pilgrims arrived in 1620, another large group of seven hundred Puritan immigrants arrived with their leader named John Winthrop. In 1630, John Winthrop a lawyer, delivered one of the most influential sermons in American history even before he and his fellow immigrants reached New England. This sermon is famous mostly for the use of the phrase “a city on a hill” which he used to describe the expectation of what was hoped the Massachusetts Bay colony would become as an example to the world. But it also reveals the sentiment of those early colonists of how they hoped the establishment of this new enterprise would be different from the rest of the world because its distinction would be obedience to the Word of God.
These days America is not a very good light in the world and our shine is quickly diminishing. This is not only sad to say, but also tragic because we have failed God in the purpose he gave us for this country which was to be a beacon of hope for the nations!
We have lost that shine with all the mistakes and wrong decisions we have made and turned our back on God’s wisdom and values. It is clear to see we in America are no longer that shining city on the hill. We have gone dark in so many ways and are not fulfilling the call of our original design for the glory of God.
The good part is that God has not died, his wisdom and values have not changed, and they are still there for the taking. We can return the strength of our light in the world if we would only return back to a right relationship with God and his Word.
We have much work to do but we must never let go of our hope in the Lord because he has already overcome the darkness and promises we can too: John 1:5, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”