Thursday, July 7, 2022

Joyful Mourning

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

If we remember that blessed means both highly favored by God and truly joyful in response, then this blessing is a bit of a paradox. How can we mourn and be joyful at the same time? 

When Jesus speaks to us through these words today, he actually disenchants us. He breaks the spell under which we otherwise labor. This spell is cast by the unholy Olympian spirit of our age through their own unscrupulous Olympian media. This spirit entices us to crave happiness, power, and earned righteousness. It drives us to gratify this craving by serving the false Olympian gods of politics, war, technology, sex, money, and consumption. By breaking the spell of that lying spirit, Jesus frees us to affirm his Holy Spirit of truth, freedom, love, and vitality.

If Jesus steadily disenchants us, then why mourn? While we remain under the lingering spell of the unholy spirit of our age, we remain indifferent to the well-being of others. Life is all about the self-centered satisfaction of our own desires. Are others suffering? It doesn’t matter. Does our way of living bring suffering upon them? That doesn’t matter either. The gods of this world justify us. 

When Jesus breaks the spell of that indifference, then suddenly or gradually we become aware of people outside of ourselves. The fog lifts and there they stand. We begin to notice that some of these previously invisible people are suffering. With Jesus, we mourn in response. 

Jesus calls us highly favored and truly joyful when we mourn for those who suffer. He promises to comfort us when we start to identify with them. He promises to comfort us when, as people made marginal by him, we ourselves start experiencing suffering we might otherwise have easily avoided.

Sometimes Jesus comforts us by alleviating the suffering we see or experience. Other times he comforts us by walking with us through the suffering we face. Either way, in the midst of that suffering, we know God is for us, with us, and in us for our good and his glory—and we rejoice! 

Copyright © 2022 by Steven Farsaci.
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