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The Second Beatitude


In choosing to “live” Jesus’ teaching recorded as the Sermon on the Mount, I now realize I opened myself up to allowing God to meet me in unexpected ways.


This week, I received a letter from an old friend, once dear and precious, full of life, enthusiasm, and love for God. We met in college during the crazy days of the Charismatic Movement—we shared so many amazing times, especially praying together for our city.


 I lost my friend many years ago—oh, we still saw each other occasionally, but the life we had shared had somehow been swallowed up by other relationships, different circumstances. And though we talked, the girls we had been together were buried under the ways our lives had taken different paths. We met, touched physically, but somehow failed to touch heart to heart.


Today, I realized that I lost my friend, yes, but she also lost me-- that hadn't occurred to me before. The way we sparked life in each other was lost to both of us. I thought she had withdrawn from me; now I wonder if she felt I had withdrawn from her.


 I never really grieved. I chose to put it behind me--- to move on—not to let the hurt penetrate—to tell myself it did not really matter… And I wonder how often I have done this with other losses, both friendships and places; how burying my emotional response to loss has closed me down to feeling other emotions. I recently read the thought that sorrow and joy are interrelated...the deeper we experience sorrow, the more joy we will know.



Grief…do you ever find yourself thinking that, if you start to let yourself feel those feelings, you will never stop crying? It feels too much. It is easier to shut down and to hurry on with the demands of today.


And, as I now grieve the loss of that precious friendship, something breaks in my spirit, and something opens, and I sense a new freedom to genuinely love my friend.



And here it is in Jesus’ words—an invitation—this is not just permission, but a promise of blessing to those who grieve.

                             Blessed are those who mourn,

                             for they will be comforted.


How well do we really grieve in our culture? I think other cultures do it better. Here, when someone dies, we tend to get together for a “Celebration of Life.” I wonder if we have lost something in our inability to weep together, to acknowledge the depths of our pain and sorrow, and to comfort one another just by being present.




Jesus’ invitation is to mourn/grieve; His promise is comfort. That is an interesting word—not used often in the New Testament—but John uses it in describing Jesus’ promise of “another Counselor (Comforter)” whom He will send to be with the disciples after His going. This word means “a calling to one’s side, with capacity for giving aid.”


I wonder if this is how you experience the Holy Spirit. The promise contained in those words is breathtaking.



Paul, in writing to the Corinthian church, says:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the Father of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)


And again:

“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only his coming but also by the comfort you had given him.” (2 Corinthians 7:6, 7)

 


Here is God’s invitation to us—to grieve, to fully experience deep suffering in the losses we face, and from that place to experience God’s presence and comfort. If the loss you are facing is a loved ones’ death, the invitation remains the same. In those times, you can feel the ground has shifted beneath you, everything is unraveling, and the way you have made sense of life has vanished. This is a time to sit with your brokenness, to acknowledge all that has changed, and to enter a different relationship with God, to really experience the Holy Spirit as a comforter. Depth calls to depth, and in the depth of your loss, God can become real to you in a way you never could have imagined.  




From a place of having experienced God’s comfort, we can then become sensitive to the pain and losses of those around us, not just the people we know and love but anyone God puts in our pathway; to open our hearts to them and to do what we can to help. There is so much pain in our world. Can we become those who will respond to God’s call to come alongside another with the comfort He has given us?


 

Reflection & Practice: 

·      

  • How have you responded to the losses in your life? Do you identify with my thoughts of minimizing your emotional responses to loss? Are you angry? Do you find yourself blame shifting? Take time to be honest with God and to open yourself to the Holy Spirit as your Comforter/Counselor. Journal your responses to God.

 

 

  • · In what ways is God opening your eyes to the pain in others’ lives? Ask God to show you whom He would like you to comfort and how that comfort could be expressed.

 

 

  • · Open yourself to the unexpected—to a new adventure! Find joy as you live this second beatitude!

 

  • ·  We invite you to share with us your thoughts and experiences, so that we might become a company of people learning to live the Sermon on the Mount and to discover real Kingdom living.

 

 

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