Mt 5:4a – “Blessed are those who mourn….”
When we mourn, we grieve a loss. When we take time to sit with it, lean into the emptiness, the hole that’s been left, feel the hurt, cry the tears, express the pain, lament to God and others, acknowledge the change… something happens. There’s a release.
This beatitude is about something that happens to us, usually involving a loss, and we end up in grief, sorrow and mourning. A brave face is not OK here, otherwise we miss the blessing. We are encouraged to lament, like 1/3 of the Psalms. Someone or something is gone, and normal is about to change.
The loss is often a person, but it can also be a job, a home, health, capability, or even a pet. It’s when we lose someone or something that’s important to us and our emotions come to the front. We begin to mourn.
Part of the blessing of this kind of emotional pain is the freedom to express to God and our safe people whatever comes to mind. Feel it. Shout it. Shake it – our bodies physically react. We wear ourselves out as we work through it. The only prescription here is permission to go ahead and express ourselves, however it comes out.
Jesus was crushed with grief to the point of death in the Garden of Gethsemane. His example gives us permission to mourn honestly. His safe (and sleepy) people were there with him. He had no wrong or right feelings, even when He asked the Father to find a different way than going to the cross. He faced his intense grief and he told his Father all about it. And when he had processed it all, on his knees in the Garden, there was a release. He moved forward in peace because he had received the blessing he spoke of in this verse: comfort.
Connie and I met last year with one of our global partners who were in a time of mourning. They had recently experienced a loss and wanted to tell us. We simply listened, assured them our church was with them, and entered their mourning with them. They cried, questioned and faced it. No denial here. I believe they were comforted by us that evening, but that was only the start. There was a deeper comfort to come from the Comforter himself, the Holy Spirit. That is who Jesus was ultimately talking about when he said , “…. for they will be comforted.” (Mt 5:4b) There’s more to explore with this phrase, to understand the blessing of “good mourning”.
Til next week, Dan