City on a Hill

Will Butler of Arcade Fire fame, with song: City on a Hill

“In a tweet, Will Butler (of Arcade Fire fame) described the track “City on a Hill” as a “hot new Christmas jam” replete with “some cussin’.” In practice, however, Butler’s [Christmas 2015] offering is quite solemn in tone, a piano-driven number reflecting on all the new fears presented by a modern world that often feels as though it hasn’t made good on its promise of being that shining city upon a hill.”

Article From: Arcade Fire’s Will Butler Shares Somber Christmas Song ‘City on a Hill’

Caution: Language.

City on a Hill, by Will Butler (Released Christmas, 2015)

On a crowded afternoon, I just want to look out on a normal room
Without that fear in my heart, every time someone comes through a door
And I know that some day soon, it’ll happen again and I’m not a fool
I keep watching the stranger’s eyes, as if he might be holding knife

In a city on a hill, I was born and grew up and I’m living there still
Tonight the curtains are drawn, and the gates are locked and the alarm is on
But f*#k off, let’s light up the lights
Because the winter is dark and I’m sick of the night
There’s strangers dying outside, and some people are muttering on to just let them die
But my god do you think we can hide, a city on a hill

There was no room at the inn, not in Indiana, not in Texas, not in Maine
So they prayed and they headed to Berlin, as if God was on there side
C’mon, let’s light up the lights
Because the winter is cold and I’m sick of the night
There’s strangers dying outside, and some people are muttering on to just let them die
I’m not here to preach Christ crucified, but that the blood of the innocent it rarely stays quiet
And f*#k off, I’m not going to die
From a terrorist bullet or some radical spy
I could die in a car crash tonight or from a lightning strike or a meteorite
Yes I’m scared and I might want to hide, in my city on a hill
But my god do you think we can hide, a city on a hill

A prophetic outburst to those who have ears to hear…

To read the original reference to a “City on a Hill“, look at Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Butler writes:

“I’m not here to preach Christ crucified, but that the blood of the innocent it rarely stays quiet.”


I, on the other hand, am here to preach Christ crucified.

I agree with Butler that the blood of the innocent will not stay quiet. We find as much in Genesis 4:10 after Cain killed his brother Abel:

“The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen!

Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

Mere lament will not take care of it; it may raise our awareness – but God in Christ hears the cries of innocent blood, and has come, and is present to do something about it.

If you have ears to hear… listen.

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About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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