Blessedness and Mourning

In Lent 23 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Psalm 51:16-17

Mourning is the next state after poverty of spirit. One who has realized their brokenness is moved to grief. David’s Psalm 51 is an good example of a person struggling with the aftermath of sin and failure. Listen to David’s language: Have mercy on me…wash me thoroughly…against you God have I sinned…Blot out my iniquities…Create in me a clean heart.

The logic of grief is apparent in what Jesus said about self-sufficiency. Those who have no awareness of their own failings do not look outside themselves for assistance. Jesus encountered this throughout his ministry. In his most sarcastic voice, Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous….” You can almost hear him saying, “….like you self-sufficient religious leaders.”

Mourning, in Jesus’ usage, is a momentary detour from a full life. Never meant to be a place you stop. Like Chocolat character Madame Audel who was known for her wearing black and mourning her lost husband. When an admirer asked how long she had mourned, the reply was “over 40 years.” We are not meant to live in a constant state of grief.

The reason Jesus could say “blessed” about people in grief was that Jesus knew where healthy grief can lead us. Out of false sufficiency into the grace and healing of God. Comfort and freedom are the outcomes of a life lived in humility and honesty.

You could say that learning to live this way is a journey through the wilderness. A Lenten journey.

Prayer: Christ of the Wilderness. You know better than anyone how the wilderness purifies you midst self-denial and sacrifice. As Satan tempted Jesus to use his power to turn stones into bread, he also tempts us to rely on our own power. Please forgive us for self-sufficiency and help us to have the honesty and humility to admit our shortcomings. Though it will cause us grief, it will ultimately lead us to freedom and peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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