​Beatitudes — Acts that Lead to Life #3

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

I don’t love painful circumstances. There is something about the situation itself, no matter its cause, which makes me feel very alone, as if the weight of the world is sitting on my shoulders and I cannot take it off no matter where I go or what I do.

In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul says something profound:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Why in the world would I want to do any of those things? The rejoicing part might not be so bad, but the rest of it sounds like a lot of work. I especially don’t want to mourn with those who mourn. I have enough trouble with my own mourning. I have my pain and you have yours. Let’s keep it at that.

But look at Isaiah 32:

See, a king will reign in righteousness
    and rulers will rule with justice.
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
    and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
    and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
    and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand,
    and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
No longer will the fool be called noble
    nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

Obviously, the righteous king is messiah. Christians would say Jesus — absolutely. The important part of this is defining the rulers. That is you and me.

“…rulers will rule with justice…”

What does ruling with justice look like? Shelter from the wind, refuge from the storm, streams of water in the desert, and the shadow of a big ole rock — that’s what it looks like. It looks like joining people in their deserts. It looks like mourning with those who mourn.

What happens when we mourn, not just for our own pain, but also for the pain of others?

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
    and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand,
    and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
No longer will the fool be called noble
    nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

When we mourn, we are comforted. When we mourn with others, they are strengthened. And so are we. Wrongs are righted as we choose to be shade and water and refuge, and we all take the next step together.

We are more powerful in community. Being willing to mourn with others is one of the most powerful activities we can engage in. It doesn’t just help others. Opening ourselves up to the power of joining people in their pain is perhaps the most transformational thing we can do for our own journey. Solidarity is created in mourning that only mourning can create. As with much of life, the power of someone else joining us in our mess is the glue that holds our fractured soul together when everything else is falling apart.

May you be given the amazing privilege to mourn deeply. And may you join others in their mourning. May you find the power of “me too.” And may you be comforted.