According to Psalm 87 . . .
His foundations are in the holy mountains . . .
“Lord God of the High Places,” Abraham called the Lord. God dwells on high, which is a metaphor for any place that stands out: a mountain, a city, a temple, a soaring place among our hopes and dreams. God from on high looks upon us and blesses us.
Glorious things have been spoken of thee, O City of God . . .
Such was the title of St. Augustine’s book, The City of God. The earthly city, the city of concrete, will someday become shaken, become rubble. The City of Man, as St. Augustine wrote, is doomed to destruction. Such is the way of concrete, of buildings, of human artifice. But there is a part of us that is not built, rather is, not artificial, rather natural. We are born with it, and it is with us throughout life, even until and after death. This Augustine called the City of God, which is the abode of hope, of peace, of trust, of love. This is the abode of God, for God is love. God is not built. God is not contrived. God is. And God is throughout all times and places. If we accept the presence of God, and see that disasters are not disasters, rather a part of God’s will, part of God’s overall scheme of love, then we will be at peace, and truly not fear.
Augustine told his readers of his relationship with God of the High Places based on his experiences of doubt, frustration, sorrow, and apostacy. Augustine found God in the smallest, most humble venue, and yet it was as if he had stood on the highest mount when he heard God call him. A citizen of the City of God, Augustine wrote, is anyone who puts their faith in, fears, the Lord, and humbly submits to His will: these can be people from any place: Philistines, Phoenicians, Ethiopians, Asians, Europeans, Americans, or people from North Africa, as was Augustine. Place of birth and residence have little to do with citizenship in the City of God.
The Lord shall recount it in the writing of the people, says the Psalmist.
God keeps tabs on us, He enrolls us in His census, He finds a place for us, all who claim citizenship in the City of God. The writings of those who work for God’s purpose, who submit their writings to the ultimate prose and verse of God, claim citizenship in God’s City.