Matthew 5:Ever since sin broke God's perfect world, sadness pervades our existence. Oh, to be sure, there are times when we rejoice. But we also experience times of mourning, even extended seasons of grieving. We mourn for many reasons: human suffering, the loss of loved ones, broken relationships, the persistence of our sin.
Such sadness prepares us to receive God's kingdom. In fact, through Isaiah, God promised that the Messiah would comfort those who mourn:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,
for the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the LORD’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Because Jesus was anointed to usher in God's kingdom, those who mourn were blessed because comfort was on the way.
Yet, until the fullness of the kingdom comes to us, we will still grieve. The tragedies of life will at times weigh heavily upon our hearts. But in our grief we have hope for the future. We also have the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who meets us in our sorrow and calms our hearts.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you grieve, do you bring your sadness to God? How have you experienced the comfort of God's Spirit in your life?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are times when this life is filled with joy, times of gladness and celebration. But there are other times, many other times, times of sadness and loss, times of mourning and weeping. Along with the whole creation, our hearts ache for the day when your kingdom will fully come. Then you will wipe away every tear. Sorrow and sadness will pass away.
In our mourning, we thank you for the hope you give us through Christ. But we also thank you for the comfort you give us right now. Indeed, how grateful we are for the Comforter, the Spirit who dwells within us to grant us your peace.
Today I want to pray for those who mourn. I think of a dear friend who just lost her father. I remember parents whose children have given their lives in service to this country. I envision countless victims of poverty and injustice throughout our world. Comfort those who mourn, dear Lord. And may your kingdom come, so that mourning may be swallowed up by celebration.
All praise be to you, Lord, because you comfort those who mourn. Amen.
I would like to invite you to join me at Laity Lodge this summer. Several of our retreats are full, but some still have room. I will be present at all summer retreats, and will be speaking at the June 5-8 retreat along with Marva Dawn. For more information, check out the Laity Lodge website.
I hope to see you at Laity Lodge!