Friday, October 26, 2012

For our promise today, we are going to a familiar passage, the Beatitudes.  The blessings promised in the face of difficulties throughout this teaching of Christ seem paradoxical.   While my heart rejoices this week over the second promise, the blessing in mourning, I cannot jump over the first.  In fact, as we explore today, the link between the two is unavoidable. 

Christ began this teaching by saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  
Matthew 5:3

Impoverished spirits receive the blessed inheritance of the Kingdom of God!  It is a truth we cannot recognize until all we are is simply not enough to face the problem life has thrown our way.  The gateway to God’s Kingdom is too narrow for us when we are full of ourselves.  Recognizing our poverty allows us to enter into the richness of our Lord!  The blessing is indeed greater than the difficulty. 

The second difficulty often opens the gateway by bringing us to the awareness of our poverty.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  
Matthew 5:4

Mourning flows from the loss of someone or something loved.  All earthly love involves risk.  Refusing to love, though, is absolute loss, for the losses of grief open the door to understanding the beauty of God’s eternal love.  Grief is a common experience for all of us.  Sometimes the grief is for a loss we have suffered; sometimes it is for a loss we cannot alleviate for another.  Those who love us, and those we love, are unable to fill the role intended for God alone. 

A dream fades, an ambition leads to deadly results, a treasured support slips out of our life or a person we treasure dies—the causes for grief are different but the results are the same.  Grief rocks the foundation of our life.  It causes us to examine our loves, to consider that which we value and build our lives on.   The blessing of mourning comes when we allow the shaking of our lives to toss us into the eternal love of God.  Understanding that love in this earthly realm always includes the potential for loss can harden a heart from loving or soften it to receive the unending love of God.  The blessed comfort in mourning is knowing there is healing for a broken heart in the love of God. 

When the very best this world has to offer falls short of lasting joy, the grief makes us thirsty for eternal possibilities.  The blessing again is greater than the difficulty.   The blessing of mourning is God Himself--the only power that can comfort the unavoidable grief of a broken world. 

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