(As I get used to my new schedule, these will begin appearing earlier in the morning my time. Thank you for your patience in the meanwhile.)
January 2 (Matthew 5:4 NIV)
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
When Jesus talked about mourning here, He used the word that describes a person’s deep and sorrowful reaction to the death of a loved one. If you’ve lost someone close to you, you can understand that sense of loss, that helpless feeling that you can’t do anything to fix what’s wrong. This last year, 2020 has provided all sorts or occasions for mourning. We’ve all lost family or friends this past year. Some have lost businesses or careers, or perhaps seen dreams destroyed in the midst of the pandemic. Mourning is an important part of the process to help us deal with such losses.
Some, though, would demean those who mourn, attacking them for their lack of strength. Jesus gave people the freedom to mourn, reminding them that they would be comforted. Those who seek to hide their grief may be admired by the world, but they never receive comfort: not from family, not from friends, and not from God.
At the same time, I think Jesus, who told people not to fear him who could kill the body but not the soul, had a deeper meaning for those living in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not only should we mourn our personal losses, but we should mourn for those who are separated from the Kingdom of Heaven. We should mourn injustice, hatred, and oppression. In short, we should mourn all things that might keep a person from experiencing life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The promise of Jesus is that those who mourn will be comforted. In some cases we may be comforted by the presence of family and friends as we deal with our personal losses. As we expand our mourning to lament living in a world separated from the goodness of God, we’ll experience God’s presence as He comforts us. Ultimate comfort will come as we celebrate the presence of God in our daily lives as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Lord, we do mourn the losses we’ve experienced in this world and are grateful for the comfort that comes from family and friends. We’re especially grateful for Your presence and comfort. We also mourn for a world that hasn’t experienced Your goodness and grace, a world that doesn’t live in the Kingdom of Heaven. We pray for your comfort in our mourning, and we pray that all people in this world may experience Your Kingdom.