A City On A Hill
Eternal God, with You all things are possible. Help me to persevere in doing Your will each day.
Read Revelation 17:1-18
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Let Christ who loved Jerusalem … make just our laws and pure our hearts, so shall we be reborn” (Ernest T. Campbell). And be reborn, we must.
Two cities feature in the final chapters of Revelation—Babylon and Jerusalem, both metaphors for the biblical story. Babylon is the great city of violence and conquest, the city of exile for Israel, far from their home in shattered Jerusalem. For John, however, writing over six hundred years after the exile, Babylon, drunk with the blood of God’s people, could only be Rome: a place of Christian persecution under Nero and Domitian. As for Jerusalem, once again that city lay in ruins, the Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
Cities illustrate both the creative gifts of humans made in God’s image, and the depths of wickedness and meanness of our fallen nature; they house slums, cathedrals, art galleries and traffic jams, street crime and soup kitchens, red-light districts and shops. Cities are where most Christians are called to witness and work for the transformation of city life. Some churches, filled with music and worship, are large enough to be visible flagships demonstrating God’s love and grace to the city, reaching out in evangelism and pastoral care. Some will be small and friendly, providing a haven for the lost and despairing, running children’s clubs and lunches for the elderly.
Some of the Christians of Rome, to whom Paul had written his letter, would have learned of the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman armies; some would live to experience fierce persecution. But I hope they would later have had copies of John’s great Revelation, giving them God’s view of history, both past and future, for one day they would stand in the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the bride of the Lamb, shining like the sun in the new creation, singing songs of glory before the throne.
Do you pray for cities? If you live or work in a city, join with others to pray for city life, including government.
Lord, I pray today for my city. It’s an ordeal for many, a delight for some. May I light a candle of hope that others can see.