We–the church, the people sometimes called Christian–we are called by our Master to be like cities set on a hill. Sanctuaries. Refuges. Emergency rooms. Homes. A place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in. In the current clamor, our fear of violence and hate, of government and taxes, of evil and Satan can swamp our minds. Our entire attention can be occupied with that which we dread, chasing rumors, checking facts, debating numbers. We do have work to do in the real and messy world–we, the church, the people some call Christians. We are obliged to be part of the work of shaping public policy and public discourse. We must get to that. But first, let us give lingering, worshipful attention to the prophets’ vision of the beautiful city. Let’s marinate ourselves in their hope–a City of Justice where foreigners, widows, and parentless children are well-provided for. A City of Light where a foreign, non-Christian military officer can be honored as more faithful than all the official bearers of the name (Mt 8). A Beautiful City where apostolic authority is rebuked and curtailed (Lk 9:50). A Generous City where the hungry are fed before they hear the growling of their own stomachs (Mk 8:3). A Safe City where the vulnerable are protected from good and righteous tyrants (Mk 14:6). A Noble City where insults are turned into occasions for instruction in serving (Lk 9:54). Let this Gospel vision permeate our being. Let this beauty swamp our hearts, bathe our souls, charm our minds. After deep, lingering contemplation of this vision, perhaps we might find wisdom to speak and act justly and full of mercy.