A City Upon a Hill
Ever since the first families and tribes ventured to America soon after the global deluge man has sought this land we call the United States of America for Freedom and Opportunity.
These first Indians who had come to the truly virgin land sought a new local they could call their own. The bravery of these migrating peoples traveling to a new land in search of something novel would not last long for them though. Instead of innovating and subduing the world around them, the Indians soon lost their sense of adventure and began fervently idolizing the Creation, except the horse, they ate all their horses. For whatever reason — I have my own theories — the Indians settled into their extreme animalist paganism and the rest is lost to history. Even though the Indians never created the wheel, an alphabet, or domesticate any livestock they did play an important role in the creation of America.
Other peoples ventured to America in search of something new, but the Vikings and explorers of the pre-colonial world all failed to create any sort of legacy. It would not be until the infamous year 1492 that America was once again settled; this time though by explorers, evangelists (Catholic and Protestant), and entrepreneurs. Come the turn of the 16th century, America was an amalgamation of Old not seen since the flood waters receded and New the Europeans brought across the Atlantic. Old and New clashed against one another in the three centuries following Columbus’s first step in Hispaniola, but come 1789 only one withstood the trials of the land and man, and survived: the Old.
The Old is the foundation of America. It is not intuitive when one first ponders the thought because America — the United States proper — was all about the New. Right? Well in fact America was about the new, but not the New. There is a subtle yet profound difference between the two that goes much deeper than simple capitalization.
Innovation and advancement are the new, but there is nothing revolutionary about innovation and advancement. Further explained: innovation and advancement are processes throughout all of history that affect societies and civilizations as time winds on. Culture is not defined by innovation and advancement, they are mere byproducts of a productive and free society.
The New referred to, in contrast to new, is the new of that time: secularism. From the time of the colonization of America to the birth of America this new philosophical and political theory grew. The Enlightenment fully developed and birthed the newly conceived notion of secularism and its fraternal twin, individualism. These ideas, the New, grew in popularity in their day and were even partially adopted by America, but in a secondary fashion.
On the other hand, the Old referenced is not the old that made the New World old. It was not a regression in technology or advancement, but a harkening to the tried and truth of the past: Christianity. Christianity built America.
John Winthrop’s famous declaration of Matthew 5:14 over the Massachusetts Bay colony that it would be “A city upon a hill” was not simply a strange sense of religious conviction for one town. Declarations like Winthrop and the Puritans’ was common and almost expected from the colonists who fled their homeland to purse a life in communion with God, liturgically rich, in the New World. These outcasts from king’s country brought with them an old sense of the Faith that harkened to a deep, communal relationship with the Creator and Savior, founded in the Good Book. This Old, not seen since the early Church in devotion and governmentally since the time of Israel under King David, was and still is the foundation of America, though ever fading.
American government, forged in the fires of the Revolutionary War and the ensuing debates between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, ultimately and profoundly come from the principles and guidelines given by God to the Hebrews in the Torah, specifically the Book of Deuteronomy. Making America the “city upon a hill” declared 250 years prior was the Founders’ first priority. If they could make America a beacon of Truth, built on the foundation of Christ that did not lead to tyranny, then they did their job correctly. Creating a nation that allowed every man to honor and love God and his neighbor freely without the interference of the government was their noble quest.
But first the Americans had to unshackle themselves from the bondage of British tyranny, which is our celebration today. With the blessings and guidance of Providence, America unshackled herself from the greatest empire the world has ever known. George Washington’s covenant with God to deliver America for Him and His glory proved a holy and righteous conviction. Though the story does not end there.
After the Revolutionary War God still had His hand on America guiding the young nation and the Founders through their trials of creating a government not seen since the days of Israel. The writing and adoption of the Constitution ensued and though it is not perfect, it is the best formula God has given man in his attempt to govern righteously. From there on to a second invasion of the British to the war with Mexico, to the Civil War and the World Wars, into the Cold War conflicts and the trials we face in the present day, God has guided us. America, she still stands, but does she ring true?
Today America still rings true, but not to the same tune that she did 241 years ago. Instead of ringing loudly to the tune of reverence to God and the love of our fellow man, America has begun ringing a tune that is about individualism and secularism: the New. These two world views are once again battling for America and the souls of hundreds of millions. For now the true spirit of America rings on, though it is growing faint.
I pray God continues to bless America and the sinners who call her home, but we must honor God and our fellow man as He has called us to do if we are to remain the “city on a hill.” The Holy Spirit moving in another Great Awakening is my hope for my and the upcoming generation of Americans. Reverence to the Most High is the only thing that will save a drowning people. It would break my heart to see the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave end up in a European-style tyranny that we declared war against 241 years ago today. Count your blessings America, especially your birthdays, because God does not need you; but we do need Him.
I remain hopeful though. As long as the Father is on the Throne there is hope. Christ died for all and we still have a chance to repent until our very last breath. The Holy Spirit is moving in our hearts and calling us to our Creator and Savior. Let us run with arms open this Independence Day to the open tomb to see that our Creator and Savior lives and He is doing amazing things indeed. All to His glory and not to our own; that is what the Founders believed and what will save our fragmenting nation. If He saves America, all glory to God. If He does not save America, all glory to God. Jesus is coming back regardless of America’s fate, that is most certainly true.
I am saved and I pray you will turn to Him even if our nation does not. In the end and in these uncertain times, no one knows how it will end for America, but in the meantime we pray…