“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Today’s article is based on an article from The Real Truth magazine.
The Matthew 5 verse above is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Politicians have used this city on a hill imagery to their political advantages over the years. Yet, it’s roots as part of American heritage go back centuries.
Puritan leader, John Winthrop wrote a sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity,” in 1630. From his sermon:
“The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and by-word throughout this world.”
Perry Miller, a mid-century scholar of history and literature, was travelling abroad when he had an epiphany. While mentally reviewing great civilization throughout history, he was struck with the motivation to discover and define what moved America to be what it is. It was in that research that he uncovered Winthrop’s sermon. Here it was; America’s reason for being, the thing that makes us a great country with a responsibility to the world.
From the Real Truth article:
The National Endowment for the Humanities said Miller “turned it into the key text of American origins.”
Winthrop preached to those first “Americans” that they were doing something very different, very grand. People will pay attention to how this great experiment turns out. He drew on Old Testament teachings, and that effort had the Founding Fathers making the connection between the USA and ancient Israel.
Indeed, one original design for the new country’s seal was the Israelites crossing the Red Sea with Egypt in pursuit and Moses leading the way. Such was the impact of God’s Word and the history of His people on the founding of America.
After the first meeting of congress in the then-capitol of New York City, Washington led a procession of the representatives to St. Paul’s chapel, which still stands near Ground Zero. Following is his prayer, which is prayed aloud every day at Mt. Vernon.
I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have the United States in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Devine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation. Amen
The question must now be asked, are we a happy nation? We were before and after the Second World War, living on the sacrifices of The Greatest Generation. We found ourselves to be a world leader without ever intending to be. I submit that it happened because of who we were and what we believed.
Are we as happy now as we were in the late 40’s and the 50’s? Are as happy after listening to Madelaine Murray O’Hare and abolishing public school prayer and removing the Ten Commandments from our courthouses?
Or are we in danger of becoming a story and by-word throughout this world?
Rule of law is becoming scarcer every year, it seems. Vulgarity and the demonic have become our national entertainment. Our sacred freedom of speech is under attack in light of “wokeness.”
Pray. I like to say prayer should be our means of first resort. Yes, there are other things we can do from freely sharing our faith to political involvement. We should each do what we feel led to do, using our spiritual gifts from God. Pray for all those who fight against evil, whether in uniform or in the halls of government. Pray for those who are going against God’s Word for their enlightenment and change for the better.
America has been a light. It still is. People still make heroic efforts to come here. The question is for how long?