Continuing with our weekly “Sermon on the Mount” series (typically posted Mondays, sometimes Tuesday), this weekend my discipleship class discussed Matthew 4:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Remember that we are approaching the Beatitudes not as a set of, “do this and you will be happy” instructions, but as Jesus looking out over the crowd of people (any crowd of people, it could be us) pointing out who they are – Jews and gentiles, men and women, “chosen” people and those discarded by life, the “in” crowd, and the “out” crowd; the broken, the poor in spirit, the persecuted, the grieving, the pure in heart… – and saying, “God’s kingdom is for you! You are the blessed ones!”
GOOD GRIEF: So we talked about grief, and the conversation around the table was deeply personal. We talked about how we handle – or don’t handle – mourning, and we talked about some of the circumstances that have caused us to crumple.
We all agreed that it is only through acknowledging our pain, making ourselves vulnerable, and opening up those tender places both to God and to people who love us, that we are able to begin to engage the healing touch of God in a way that is transformational.
Not just transformational, but beautiful too. It’s not so much that we should look for grief, or that it’s a good idea to hope for brokenness… but that life by its very nature includes loss, and pain, and disappointment, and heartache, and that God – who is constantly breaking in to time and space to work in and through our lives – is not only willing to walk with us, but to facilitate growth and new life.
So we sit – there on the hillside, and here in our today – in the presence of the Master; we pour all that we are out into the space between us; and those experiences – that reality of our honest, authentic lives – become a bridge that closes the distance between our need and God’s presence.
This particular beatitude is an invitation to bring it all to Jesus. We find blessing – peace, meaning, God’s healing presence – not in spite of our brokenness, but because of it.
That’s what it means to say blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
In love, and because of Jesus – DEREK