Sunday, August 29, 2010

you are blessed when you mourn

For most of my life, I would groan if I heard someone announce that they were going to preach/speak about the “beatitudes.” Lately, I cannot get my mind off of them. I think I am finally understanding the truer meaning of Jesus’ words, and they are captivating my thoughts and filling me with joy. How can I explain this change of attitude?

Am I finally realizing what Jesus was really saying…have I grown in my spirit, so that I can accept the truth of what Jesus was saying…is the Holy Spirit opening my mind and thinking, so that I finally have understanding? Actually, I think the answer to all of these questions is “yes.”

The word “beatitude” means “blessing.” Jesus was giving blessings to his audience (which, by the way, was most likely just his disciples…I’ve always heard that…and have seen in pictures of… Jesus was up on a high place…looking down on a multitude…preaching the “sermon on the mount.” Actually, he and the disciples had moved up the mountain…away from the crowd…most likely, he was just speaking quietly, in a conversational tone, to his closest friends. He was telling them “the secret” of his mission. Something that would rock their known-world on it’s very foundation.) Jesus was giving a special blessing to those who would stand by him…those who would go on to live for him….those who would die for him….

The first blessing was to those who mourn. With the events of the past two years, I can finally understand what it means to mourn. The disciples would have the truest understanding of “mourning” in just three short years. But, really, Jesus was talking about a mourning that goes beyond our earthly grief. That grief will pass some day…the grief he speaks of, will go on for eternity if it is not confessed by us and blessed by Jesus. This is the mourning of our sins. The grief we feel when we realize what God has done for us, and how far we are from him. The road to the first blessing is sorrow for our sin…it is repentance. This is has been very hard for me, because I am so prideful. I want to be right. I want to do what I want to do. But Jesus has a different way for me to go…the way of repentance.

As Max Lucado writes in his exquisite book about the beatitudes: “Of all the paths to joy, this one has to be the strangest. True blessedness, Jesus says, begins with deep sadness.” This is another of the many juxtapositions that Jesus presents: death gives life; if you are poor, you are rich; if you are low, you’ll be raised high. It doesn’t make sense, but it is the way to the first of Jesus’ blessings. I am blessed if I mourn.

Lord, help me to pour out the sorrow and repentance of my sin to you. Help me lean on your understanding, not my own. Help me swallow my pride, and depend on you completely. Please bless my mourning.