January 7, 2021

In 1630, before the first group of Massachusetts Colony colonists departed from Southampton for Boston, Puritan John Winthrop warned his fellow Puritans that their new community would be “as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” He went on to say, “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 a byword through the world”.

The phrase “a city on a hill” is taken from Jesus’ words to the crowds in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” These words follow the Beatitudes, which make the point, “Blessed are those who realize their need for God, those who mourn, those who are gentle and lowly, those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, who are merciful, whose hearts are pure, who work for peace, who are persecuted because they live for God.”

What is happening in our Capitol is shocking, embarrassing, and heart-breaking. It is also a reminder that the Jesus calls us to a higher place, where loving God, loving neighbor as self, loving justice, doing mercy, and walking humbly with our God is the light that shines.

Friends, pray for unity, pray for peace, pray for humility, and pray for peace and justice in our nation. Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.

The church – the body of Christ, not a building, is here for times such as this. Be the church. ~ Anne

These meditations are provided as a ministry in this time of pandemic as a ministry of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

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