“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
I stood in front of the Lincoln monument on that beautiful spring morning, awestruck by the magnificent statue of America’s sixteenth president. I had just read the words engraved on the walls: The Gettysburg address of 1863 on the South wall and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address on the wall of the North chamber. Both displayed Lincoln’s faith in God.
The imprint of strong biblical heritage in our country’s history can be found in most government buildings in D.C.. I could list them all, but this is not the objective of this post. In fact, I found a good article on the Providence Foundation’s website detailing the presence of Bible verses, or biblical influence in the nation’s monuments, buildings and founding documents.
I love history, therefore after moving to America, I started trying to understand why this country became the most powerful nation in the history of mankind.
Interestingly enough, my country of birth, Brazil, was discovered only eight years after the United States, in 1500. Likewise, Brazil’s independence from Portugal was declared only 46 years after the United States won the Revolutionary war. My main curiosity rested on the fact that the history of these two western giants, with equal natural resources, similar size and population, are so vastly different. Why has America prospered, becoming a beacon of prosperity and liberty, whereas my country has only recently emerged as a key player in the global scenario?
I believe I know the answer.
And the answer is imprinted in many monuments. The answer is found in between the lines of our constitution. The answer is in the beginning.
The answer is God.
America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. The argument against this truth is pretty laughable. It amuses me when I hear it. It makes me wonder whether the people who say that the God of Abraham is not the pillar behind America’s history have visited Washington D.C.
Indeed, it’s plain to see: The answer is God.
And God is the answer.
This country is mine by choice, not by birth. And this week I want to pay tribute to its greatness, its welcoming arms of freedom and prospect of boundless dreams. I want to sing a song to America, the beautiful. From a foreigner who has lived abroad most of her life and who knows the difference between a government for the people, instead of merely for political gain and increase of politicians’ personal wealth:
America, you are indeed beautiful.
You have welcomed strangers and helped them fulfill their dreams. Like the maker of a beautiful colorful quilt, you have accepted our diversity and have allowed us to make you our home.
You have opened your schools, universities and allowed us to learn… Achieve… and fulfill our dreams.
You have imprinted God’s Truth in the heart of your founding documents, and God has honored you for that.
We have watched you run to defend Israel because your leaders understood that the Promised Land is the apple of Yahweh’s eye. You have risen to defend her and help her against her enemies. And God has smiled at you for that.
You have embraced religious freedom while still investing in spreading the gospel to the entire world. And God has blessed you for that.
When tragedy happened, we looked at you. We watched as you came together as one nation, and under God you pledged to fight for justice.
We joined you against evil. With your help we defeated Hitler. We brought down dictators. And we watched your brave men and women of the military set captives free.
Now I look at you, America, in expectation.
What are we, your people, going to do to ensure that the future of our children remains bright and beautiful?
Oh, America, how I wish every one of your children would walk the streets of the poverty-stricken cities of the world. I wish they could feel the bondage, the idolatry, the absence of hope.
I wish they could see what I can see…
That you are great because God made you great… and unless they return to Him, your bright, prosperous years will be no more.
That there is only emptiness and condemnation on some of their choices… Killing their unborn children. Legalizing the path filled with choices that will lead them farther away from their Maker.
I wish that they would realize…
That God is waiting on them to turn to Him. That He is waiting on His people to stand up for His principles, regardless of how unpopular they may be, regardless of political or personal preferences…
America, I sing a song of gratitude and hope on your birthday.
I thank God for you. And I ask that He will guide us to make the right decisions, to ensure that you remain a city on the hill… a beacon for the hopeless. A strong leader for freedom.
May God bless America. And may each of us bless Him by the choices we make in this country.
May we, God’s people, stand up and do our part to help America remain the land of the free…
May it remain America, the beautiful.