Jesus said that his disciples were to be a city on a hill. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5.14). In Paul’s epistles, as seven of their names attest, we see this is taking place in a way that is almost literal. For example, consider what Paul writes to the Church at Rome:
I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
The new civilization of Jesus (civil-ization = “city” society) requires a faith that shines like the sun for all to see…
But it also requires a cosmopolitan tolerance. A city is multi-ethnic and the faith must be practiced in a way that is conducive to a peace that shines bright without shadow. Thus, Paul also says to the Romans:
Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
The faith of the Church can only be proclaimed in one voice if the faith of the members knows limits set by love.