. . . For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that 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 . . . — John Winthrop, 1630

City on a Hill

They saw the eyes of all the world upon
     their bold endeavor in this wilderness,
     nor did they shirk their duty to confess
their fear of God in that, the spare, harsh dawn
of what would not be seen until an age
     had passed, and time had laid before
     the world a nation strong and free, its core
shaped by the piercing Word of seer and sage,
of Savior who compared His own to light —
     a city on a hill for all to see,
     a beacon lit with fire of liberty,
a radiant sun exposing truth and right.
What happens when that sacred core is scorned,
     rejected, laid aside, and rises then
     an alien doctrine from the minds of men
who turn a deaf ear, even being warned
that divine favor never follows those
     who void the Word of God? From this ill wind
     deliver us, O Lord! and may we find
again in Thee the courage to oppose
the darkness of our time, as men of old
     stood forth upon these shores and wavered not
     though hunger, cold and hardship were their lot,
but persevered in deeds and witness bold.
In times of turning, times of weal or ill,
     give us the heart to thank Thee, bounteous God,
     for favor to this rich Columbian sod,
and fashion here Thy city on a hill!