Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
While wandering around the internet pondering the beatitudes, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” in particular, I found a number of books on the topic, including The Be Happy Attitudes. The second beatitude could be read as “Happy are those who are sad because they will be looked after.” It's the one we tend to use as a platitude. For me though I feel we give it a disservice.
Yes, this verse can be something we can cling to when we are mourning and it also is one of the many places the Bible shows us that it is ok to share our emotions. I think the word share is what this whole beatitude comes down to. Mourning happens when we have shared something and it comes to an end.
When we share in life, we share both love and pain, the good times and the bad times. We get times to comfort and times be to comforted.
We are comforted on a number of levels. We may surround ourselves with people who can love and care for us. We learn to self-comfort, knowing what we need as individuals to best look after ourselves. We are also able to rely on Jesus’ words that we will be comforted.
The Message version of the Bible uses these words – “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you”.
Sometimes life is easy and we don’t feel like we need God but in other times, when we feel like we have lost everything, that is when we can feel embraced by God. That is where blessing lies.
Questions to ponder -
- Where are you in this? Are you in a place of mourning? Are you able to share in comfort?
- Where do you need to find comfort? Are you able to self-comfort?
- Where can you share comfort?
- What in your life are you open to sharing?
God whose heart breaks for each of us, be close to the heart broken.
God who stands firm, be the strength for those who feel weak this day.
God who offers comfort to all, be our comfort as we are called to share your comfort with others.
In Jesus name. Amen.
Written by Revd Kate Harford, ecumenical chaplain at Oxford Brookes University.