A City on a Hill
I grew up in the very flat floodplains of Louisiana. I didn’t see my first mountain till I was around 24 in the Smokies of Tennessee. My jaw hung open. Imagine then how far my jaw dropped ten years later when I visited the even loftier Rockies in Colorado. I remember seeing cabins built on the sides of those mountains and thinking how insane it must be to think you could ever build something stable up there, spending your life teetering on the edge of gravity’s grave. But imagine if I had seen a city built upon the mountain peaks, or even in the foothills of the Rockies. I still would’ve been been snatched away by wonder, left a little breathless, and a more than a little frightened. Just who were those people that braved the jagged rocks to erect those stone walls? Who were those pioneers that felt they could perch near Heaven and go on with an everyday life of driving down roads, buying food, and playing sports? Where did they even find the help to make their city? Did their help come from the mountains?
“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”
Psalms 121:1-2 NLT
Our City on the Hill is the Church, and it was built by the Creator of all the mountains. He took various parts by hand from across time and across the world, humans from every culture, tribe, and language, in order to fashion this New Jerusalem atop a new Mount Zion. And He gave each person there a function within the City, as though the whole population were a living Body, with us as its organs and His Son, Jesus Christ, as its Head and King. And this City lies atop mountains even higher than ancient Mount Olympus, safe from any Titans that would dare attack. Not even the old gods like Zeus could scale our mountain. But ordinary people can, because God wants humanity to join Him up here.
Travelers are meant to be drawn to our City. We were designed to be a beacon soaring above the valleys of thick fog and gloom, a light so bright even the blind can reach it. And there are so many eyes held shut by the powers, rulers, governments, and philosophies of this world. But Jesus has already defeated the evil powers via the Crucifixion; the Bible tells me so. So why are people so freakin’ blind?
Brighten the Light
It’s easy to ask a question like that while comfortably walled up in the City of Light. I’m safe here already, enjoying some of the promised blessings of eternal life like my family and friends. I can safely say I have found the best friends in the world within the Church. So I can snuggle up in my covers, curl my toes in the warmth of my blankets, and dig my head further into my pillow, all the while wondering why can’t those people down there see the obvious advantages of joining our City. It just doesn’t occur to me that perhaps my light isn’t that bright for them to see.
Yet I can’t be expected to on my own do the work of drawing people to our City. Not even pastors can, though they seem to be saddled with so much responsibility to do so, and crucified via opinion when they fail. You see, we weren’t meant to be singular lights in the darkness like the stars in the sky. We were meant to be a united, fiery blaze of a sun that points Society to Jesus. Not a collection of huts in the valleys and dales, but a bright and bustling City, fiercely outshining even the Heavenly Host of stars above. So as much as it’s an individual organ’s call to stay alive within the Body, it still needs all the other organs to be working as well. And, so I don’t forget, the other organs need me to be doing my job. We are a living Body as well as a City.
But—but They’re Blind Tho…
No, Society is asleep. Just like we once were. They do need to have their eyes opened, as if they were blind, but they need to be awakened first. And it’s our job to awaken them:
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go [you plural] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)
This is part of the great awakening: Jesus has indeed been given by God all authority in heaven and on earth. The powers, rulers, governments, pantheons, whatever—they’ve all actually been stripped of their strength and authority. Any that they do claim or exercise over people is grand fraud, and it’s our job to bring that into the light. Caesar, for example, is no longer Sol Invictus, “the Unconquered Sun,” but just a man like any of us. Jupiter/Zeus is no longer the King of the Gods, but just a naked, slithering maggot ready to be stomped on. And that’s what we should do: stomp on the frauds that dare enslave our fellow man.
So now I can come back to this question: why do I still see darkness and evil in this world? Because demons lie to people and the Church is lying asleep alongside. I need to wake up—We need to wake up. There’s hordes of fraudulent serpents out there we need to crush and nations worth of people to set free. I believe we make them free when we make them “disciples” (a word meaning students or apprentices) of Jesus, just like we are. That is, when we incorporate them into the Body of Christ, annex them into the City on the Hill, welcome them into our Family. And that all takes work on our part—all of us, together as the Church.
But how do we do that?