Those who mourn

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Dan Cammack considers the second of Jesus’ blessings in the Beatitudes – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” – and Dan asks, “How can this be? About the only blessing we may see in mourning is that it clears out the tear ducts.”

Dan reasons that Jesus could be referring to “tears of repentance. Unless we are deeply grieved by our true condition, we are not likely to look for help or seek change.” The reality, though, is that there is much in the world and much about the world for which we might mourn. “Just as Jesus cried over Jerusalem, we cry, sometimes literally, over our families, communities, churches, nation.”

I’ve been thinking of flooding in Bangladesh, rebuilding in Texas and Florida, distribution of relief supplies in Nepal. I’ve been thinking about a friend from Puerto Rico who finally got through to his family back home, talked to his dad over the phone. I’ve been thinking about a friend without health insurance and another friend who witnessed a crime on the way to church yesterday. There are many who have reason to mourn.

There are many who mourn.

There are many also who pray.

Dan writes that he has “experienced many times the church at prayer in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Usually everyone prays out loud simultaneously – sometimes on their knees and sometimes on their feet. Hands are raised to heaven, and faces are wet with tears.”

Will we join them? Might we pray with them?

God knows the source of our mourning – the meaning of our prayers. I wonder if this is why the very act of sharing our burdens with God and with one another can lighten our load. Dan recommends that we pray through Psalm 30, and Dan reminds us, “Blessed indeed are those who mourn.”

Eric Muhr