Sunday, August 07, 2016

Beatitude Reflections

I am reading the book of Matthew and journaling everyday; perhaps I will share some here.  I have been in the Beatitudes this week, trying to read them as they are, not as I have been told to read them.  I think that is the best way to approach the gospels:  experience them afresh without all the baggage of past preaching that tries to explain away what Jesus did and said rather than explain it.


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Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

The key behind it is that we will be comforted.  We are not blessed because we mourn (although maybe sometimes we are) but because we will be comforted.  The blessing is not inherent in mourning, but in what living with Jesus as king of one’s life provides in mourning.

We might, however, be blessed in mourning.  First it means we have someone close enough to mourn over when we lose them. We have enough sensitivity of spirit to do so, a sensitivity I fear is being lost with an increasingly narcissistic generation (and I don’t mean millenials) and the everyday presence of news reports of mass killings somewhere at home and abroad.  For Jesus’ audience, mourning was a common experience because people were likely to die from medical conditions or die younger or even from political reasons.  They also had a stronger sense of community and family and a weaker sense of (if any) individualism and isolation. 

However, the emphasis here is being comforted, so we must ask what about the kingdom of God that Jesus is bringing in comforts those who mourn? 

  1. long-term view
  2. he cares
  3. community who cares
  4. he mourns too

I saw in my Bible that I had put the words “over sin” over the word “mourn.” (why do we feel the need to add words to the text?)  There seems no reason to add that, really.  Mourning is ultimately mourning over sin anyway; if there were no sin there would be no mourning.

However, we live in an age where mourning is feared; we are supposed to “move on,” which makes those who mourn longer feel like freaks who need therapy.  Let’s not move on so quickly.

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