Bless the City

Picture of a city scape with people walking
Photo by Yichao Zhong on Unsplash

Often times, I hear Christians worry or complain that we live in a post-Christian world. What people usually mean by this, is that for a time, the world (and in most cases, the "world" they refer to is the United States) was largely full of people who would call themselves Christians, but now that time has passed. The world is now full of people who do not know Christ, and seem to be very happy with that new status quo.

The idea that America was founded as a Christian nation is taken for granted. But, there are many who dispute that we are in a Post-Christian America, arguing it wasn't a Christian nation to begin with[1][2][3], and the disputes go back and forth. But that's not why I'm writing today.

My main issue is not to make a case on whether or not we were a Christian nation, it is that we have this complaint at all. We must look beyond this idea. That is, it does not matter if we were once a Christian nation or world. Ideas and conjecture on this point are interesting, well and good. But arguments on the point serve little more than to gain the feeling that one is "right" and keeps us stuck in the past. This is deeply distressing as it causes the focus of sharing the Gospel to shift from the world's need of the Savior to my own ego. So, stop it. You'll get nowhere, you will not win anyone over with your arguments. It is time to ask the question: "Do I want to show the world who Christ is and our need of Him, or do I want to show the world that I am right?" Motive is everything.

What, then, should we be concerned with? Simple, our mission is unchanged from the beginning:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19

How do we do that in this modern world, which seems to have no care of its need of Christ the Savior? Luckily, there are examples from the Bible, which we can apply to our current predicament.

Ancient Israel in Exile

You see, Israel was no stranger to being surrounded by peoples who not only didn't have faith in God, but who were actively against such an idea. Israel was sieged, many of her people killed and then those still alive were carried off away from their Promised Land. The people of this new nation, who practiced the Ancient Mesopotamian religion, served gods and ideals that were wholly against our God.

It is here where we find an important command. The prophet Jeremiah wrote to those who had been exiled to Babylon:

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.

Jeremiah 29:4-7 - Emphasis added

So, God commanded the exiles to put down roots, to multiply even, to bless the city. In a land of the people who had dragged them from their homes, killed their families and were completely against our God, the captive Israelites were told to work for peace and prosperity, to bless the city they were taken to.

Under Roman Rule, Examples Set By Christ And the Early Church

Let us take this to the New Testament. In the time when Christ walked among us and for years after, Israel was under Roman rule. Once again, the Hebrews were subjugated. These Romans had conquered Jerusalem in 63 BC. Again, Israel lived under the reign of heathens, worshiping a pantheon of idols. Herod the Great presided as a king over Judea, and at the time of Jesus' birth, ordered the slaughter of all the boys, two years old and under in Bethlehem [4][5].

But what do we see of Christ's earthly life in this time? Did He rise up and take back the land from these heathens? Did He organize some political majority to make Judea great again? Did He form an armed militia to take power from the government and give it back to the people?

For the record, no, He did not. And neither did the early church.

The entire New Testament took place while the Romans were in power. And yet Christ rarely made any statements concerning these rulers. When he did, it was hardly what the people at the time would have expected. In fact, in a time where Rome was exacting heavy taxes on the people, along with tax collectors gathering their cut, He told the people to pay their taxes[6]. When Jesus was set before Pilate, by the religious leaders of the day, we again see what would have been a peculiar response:

So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.

John 19:10-11 - Emphasis Added

What's more, in Paul's letters, we see again that we are to even submit to these authorities[7] and to pray for them[8]. When was the last time we prayed for our leaders, when we felt like they were against us? And no, imprecatory prayers do not count.

But I don't want this to become a post about the role of Christians in politics. That's for another article.

Let me end the section with a poignant quote from Christ:

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

Matthew 5:43-46

Today's World

So, how are we to apply this to today’s Post- (or just Non-) Christian world?

The church has become very concerned about what other people outside are doing and thinking about it. It seems that Christians have begun caring about others knowing that we’re right instead of actually reaching out. Tell me, how do you think that post on Facebook or Instagram about how dumb, awful or evil those liberals are, is really going to point them towards Christ? And this is not one sided, our liberal brothers and sisters are no less prone to attacking the other side of the aisle as being stupid, uncaring and generally terrible.

But all of these arguments, made so often in the name of Christ, are a farce. They only serve to build ourselves up and are nothing more than boasting. Friends, it is time to bury our egos. Our mission as Christ-Followers is not to make sure others know that we are right, it is to point them towards the Savior. Or have you forgotten that our war is not against people, we have a bigger enemy than that[9].

Then, what are we to do?

Love each other.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

John 13:35

Stop infighting and stop cutting out members of the Body just because they aren't like you. You are part of the Bride of Christ, for Heaven's sake. If our churches cannot come together for more than five minutes without fighting over some minor doctrinal issue, or ostracizing other members because they don't fit the demographic (read, aren't cool enough), then why in all of Creation would someone from outside care what we have to say?

Love all people, especially when they hate you.

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

Luke 6:27-28

Once we've gotten love for our brothers and sisters down, Christ gives us a command and challenge to take it one (big) step further. We are to love those who are against us, who hurt us. The next time you want to post something about how all Democrats are baby-murdering heathens who are just out to make your kids believe in evolution, really think about who that post is going to benefit. Is it really going to point towards Christ? The next time you get on your megaphone to shout at some Republican rally about how they're all backwards, soulless hypocrites that only care about making the rich richer, take a second to ask, am I really trying to point them to Christ? If you only love those who love you back, you're no better than the Godless heathens[10].

Instead, make room for civil discussion. For how much I greatly dislike politics, it is necessary to be aware of and even participate in. But I pray that Christ's Bride remembers who her true love is and does not mistake the power of politics as the true goal.

Help the poor and broken.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1:27

Many times arguments are made against giving money to panhandlers, usually stating that those receiving the money will just use it for drugs or alcohol. If this is your argument, then are you supporting ministries that work in ways to bring people out of their circumstances? In San Jose, where I live, we have a wonderful ministry called City Team who provide resources for those in need. Consider donating time or finances to the ministries in your area.

That's just one of many, many things we can do. Each of us has some skill or resource to help those who are in need.

Go and make disciples.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

We all have a people. God has given you a special ability to reach a certain group of people. We each have a purpose He set in motion for us, long before we were born Pray and ask Him to show you who that is. Ask God to give you the guidance, the words and the energy to show them who He is. Remember, it's our privilege to be part of His great work. Do not boast in your own deeds or position, or He may find someone else to fulfill that role.

This Present Crisis

Look at the present crisis. We are living in a new world, Covid-19 has swept the world. Whether you believe it’s as bad as the media says or not, people are hurting. Many have lost work, income. Some people, those with compromised immune systems can’t easily go out or may not be able to leave their homes. All around us, people are in need of supplies, of comfort, and most of all, they are in need of hope.

So what is the church going to do about it? Are we content to simply host our services online and call it good? Is that really the best that we can do?

I am deeply thankful to be part of a church which is choosing not to sit on it's laurels and laze this time away. By God's provision, we have been able to help many families as we work to collect essentials and give them to anyone who comes in. While we cannot meet as a congregation due to the shelter-in-place measures imposed on the Bay Area, we will not stand idly by while the broken and helpless are in need.

I know there are many in the Church who are not physically able to go out. But there are far more who have time or resources. Let Christians be known by our love for one another and for the whole world. Let us take action, give and not expect to receive (not even expect to see others in our pews once we return). Let us choose to plant seeds of hope and love and grace and peace. Let the Church arise, step out in faith.


We live in this land, this world, as foreigners. While we are still here in this land, let us remember that we have a job to do. Let us build up those around us, always pointing others around us to Christ in action and in word. Let us pray unceasingly for revival to break out. Let us help the lost, the broken and the needy.

Let us bless the city.

Further Reading:

[1] Deism: Belief in a Perfect God Who Does Not Intervene:

[2] The Founding Fathers, Deism, and Christianity:

[3] Founding Fathers: We Are Not a Christian Nation:

[4] Jews and the Roman Empire:

[5] Matthew 2:16

[6] Matthew 22:17-21

[7] Romans 13:1-7

[8] 1 Timothy 2:1-3

[9] Ephesians 6:12

[10] Luke 6:35-36

[11] Ephesians 2:10