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On a day when the heavy rain padded down protesters enough to keep their short trek to L.A. City Hall tame, I look at a city full of ambition, broken dreams, goals achieved, and visions blurred, and realize we love causes.

We love to chase ideals and even misguided ones, justifying our action steps by simply spinning like a top in circles… not stopping to ask our Creator, “Am I making the right move?” “Am I going in the right direction?” “Is this of you or of deception?”

“Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.” – Revelation 14:7,8

And I think about a city unbroken… a city that’s a light on the hill. And I don’t see it here. Not at this time. Not at this moment.

But it is there…

One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Teaching about Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:1-16

And I think about that city… Los Angeles, if you will, for now. And the light is hard to find and seems especially dim. But I know that it’s there, among the countless tent encampments of homeless along entire street blocks and on top of highway bridge after bridge after bridge. I know that it’s there in between the veins polluted with drugs, and toxins, and trash. And I know that it’s there in the midst of intoxication and artificially induced shine and sparkle.

And I’ve seen a people that humbly ask God for help in the darkness and in the rain… and they shine. Really, He shines through them.

And the lights become brighter and brighter until they become one… one city, unbroken, like a city that cannot be hidden.

Photo: Long after a noontime protest in downtown L.A. is dampened, a homeless person gets rest with City Hall in the background. (John Fredericks/Together LA)