The City: Besieged and Beloved

A collection of biblical texts for personal meditation and public liturgy

Racial antagonism, income inequality and urban decay go hand-in-hand in our culture.
The collection of texts below—for use in personal meditation or public liturgy—
bear witness to both the horror and the hope of our cities.

§ How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal. (Lamentations 1:1)

§ Blessed be the Lord, for God has wondrously shown steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city. (Psalm 31:21)

§ There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved. (Psalm 46:4-5)

§ Destroy their plans, O Lord, confuse their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go around it on its walls; and mischief and trouble are within it, ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its market place. (Psalm 55:9-11)

§ Your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire. . . . [But] I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city (Isaiah 1:7, 26)

§ I have aroused in them righteousness, and I will make straight all their ways; they shall build my city and set my exiles free, not for price or reward, says the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 45:13)

§ Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones. . . . Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold your salvation comes. . . . And they shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought out, a city not forsaken. (Isaiah 62: 10, 11, 12)

§ But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7)

§ Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt. . . . It shall not be uprooted or overthrown any more for ever. (Jeremiah 31:38, 40)

§ . . . for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their wickedness. Behold, I will bring it to health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. . . . And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations. (Jeremiah 33: 5, 6, 9)

§ "Because the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence, I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses; I will put an end to their proud might, and their holy places shall be profaned. When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there shall be none. Disaster comes upon disaster, rumor follows rumor; they seek a vision from the prophet, but the law perishes from the priest, and counsel from the elders. (Ezekiel 7:23-26)

§ O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, give heed and act; delay not, for thy own sake, O my God, because thy city and thy people are called by thy name. (Daniel 9:19)

§ The voice of the Lord cries to the city—". . . Your rich ones are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies. Therefore I have begun to smite you." (Micah 6: 9, 12-13)

§ Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets. . . . And the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. . . . They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. (Zechariah 8: 4, 5, 8)

§ And when Jesus drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! (Luke 19:41-42)

§ And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold the dwelling of God is with humankind." (Revelation 21:2-3)


Compiled by Ken Sehested @