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Matthew 5:1-2, 4 NIV
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying… “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
In the Greek, the word for comforted has three meanings: 1) to be consoled 2) to find an ally or helper 3) to exhort or encourage. An understanding of comforted helps us flesh out a more complete understanding of mourning. Mourning is an intimate, intense, heart-breaking sorrow. It is natural to sorrow over loss and affliction. For those who follow Christ, we grow to also sorrow our own brokenness and the brokenness of the world. In each instance, Christ not only consoles us, but is our ally in healing brokenness and our encourager to join him in the healing of the world.
– Lisa Degrenia <><
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
God grant us the gift of tears: for those whom we miss, for our past sins, for the sins of others, for the violence we do to each other and to the world God gives to us each day.
– Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes
Tears are a gift. They fall on our hard hearts, cracking them open to the truth of who we are and the truth of the world around us. As they fall, our hearts grow softer and softer in God’s hands. – Lisa Degrenia <><
There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness but of power.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love.
– Washington Irving
MOURNING OUR BROKENNESS AND SIN
Psalm 38:18 NRSV
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.
Psalm 51:1-3 NIV
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
The mourning for which Christ promises Divine comfort is a sorrowing over our sins with a godly sorrow. – Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord first makes known our emptiness, and so humbles us; and then, next, he makes us mourn over the deficiencies that are so manifest in us. Then comes the second beatitude: “Blessed are they that mourn.” First there is a true knowledge of ourselves; and then a sacred grief arising out of that knowledge.
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Beatitudes
James 4:8-10 NIV
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
MOURNING THE BROKENNESS OF THE WORLD
2 Corinthians 7:10-11a NIV
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.
An immediate consequence of poverty of spirit is becoming sensitive to the pain and losses of people around me, not only those whom I happen to know and care for, but also people I don’t know and don’t want to know. To the extent that I open my heart to others, I will do whatever I can to help– pray, share what I have, even share myself.
– Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes
The kind of mourning referred to here is not so much mere sadness or weeping but prayers of lament over the hurt in the world. The mourning grows out of an awareness of the difference between the world as it is and the world as God wills it to be.
– Tom Long, Matthew Commentary
Click here for a deep reflection and call to lament by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled For the Hurt of my People.
The one who sees unceasingly the limitless goodness of God came to the world, saw it broken to pieces by human sin and was moved to compassion. The same eyes which see into the heart of God saw the suffering hearts of God’s people and wept. These eyes which burn like flames of fire penetrating God’s own interiority, also hold oceans of tears for the human sorrow of all times and all places.
– Henri Nouwen, Behold the Beauty of the Lord
Revelation 21:1-5 NIV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
This is the second of eight posts based on the Beatitudes, Jesus’ short pronouncements of blessing at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-12) In these scriptures, Jesus reveals the present and future reality of God’s kingdom and that the kingdom is available for all people.
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