“Imagine” – No City on a Hill

0e26e5937d263c4fa090235700985926“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)

One of my favorite movie scenes is in the WWII picture, “The Longest Day.” In the early morning hours of June 6th, 1944 an old Frenchman living on a hill near Normandy opens his shutters and gazes out at the ocean. He catches his breath realizing what he is seeing. The Allies are at hand with mighty warships as far as the eye can see. Then “BOOM, BOOM, and BOOM” the earth-shaking shells begin to rain down upon the coast. He grabs a French flag waving it furiously out the window, even as his house rattles violently around him, and begins yelling, “The Americans, the Americans, the Americans!” He weeps uncontrollably as finally freedom has arrived at his door. What followed may well have been the high tide of American history as the beaches of enslaved Europe received the men of the greatest generation. Many fell under murderous fire, but they kept coming and swept away yet another evil totalitarian regime from the earth.

My friend the dreamer (see Intro) was waxing poetic about the world being just one big commune echoing John Lennon: “Imagine there’s no countries/ It isn’t hard to do/ Nothing to kill or die for/ …” We could all live in peace that way, he said. And then I asked him what if another Hitler gained control of his one world government? Who would storm the beaches? Who would empty the concentration camps? Who would answer the cry for rescue? America? What America?

The nations are yet another means of checks and balances. Those who strive under the banner of “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Psalm 33:12) will be ever vigilant to see goodness and freedom prevail. They will deliver keys to the chained as well as faith, hope and charity to all in need. Remove them, and watch evil and enslavement sprint like fire on a dry prairie across the earth.

As the Puritans sailed for America John Winthrop reminded them “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” Years later Alexis de Tocqueville declared, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good America will cease to be great.” America’s past is not without sin. But her ideals and Christian ethic incited self-examination and determined resolve to become that city on a hill, a light to the world, and to be – good. Can we say the same of America today? We might get by with an answer of yes and no. Yes, because there are some who still reach to extend the light; but no because far too many have adopted Lennon’s dream. My friend is but one example.

In this series we are putting the pieces together of what the dreamer’s Utopian world will look like: There is no God, at least of any power or consequence. There is no judgment to convict and redress the heart concerning right and wrong or good and evil. And there is no check or impediment to the evil inclinations of power-mad despots. “Imagine” such a world! Sounds to me like one of those nightmarish dreams where you’re so desperate to wake up, and when you do, you thank God it was only a dream.

Next: “Imagine” – No Religion

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