I was recently at the funeral of a close friend of mine’s father and it got me thinking (which is a dangerous activity for me)…why in the world would those who mourn be blessed? We all know the verse from the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”And I (I think I am not alone in this) have always struggled with understanding these “blessings”. Blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst, etc. Evidently Jesus thinks that those who suffer or become doormats for the world are “blessed” I don’t know about you, but most of the time “blessing” is not the word that comes when I think about the downtrodden, the beaten-up and the brokenhearted. But maybe my idea of blessing flows through a limited scope.
But back to this funeral…it really got me thinking. When one mourns they are reminded of a couple of things. They get to reflect on the life of the loved one, but more than that, they must grapple a bit with the reality of death. Mourning reminds us of the fact that human life is fragile. James 4:14 reminds us of this, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” All to often we go through life with this air of invincibility around us when in actuality…life is nothing but a vapor. Those who mourn are living out the kingdom of God in the now because they realize the now is not so long.
I think the issue comes sometimes with the actualization of that verse in Matthew. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. It’s not easy always to take comfort in the fact that life is short. It is not always easy to take comfort in the fact that this world is broken and dying because of sin. It is not easy to go through life brokenhearted because of loss and the emptiness of that which was. But those of us who mourn can take comfort in knowing that this is not the end. Death does not have the final word. Love has overcome the grave and there is an ending coming from which there will be no more mourning.
So maybe that is the answer. Maybe those who live in the Kingdom of God now know something the rest of us don’t know. Though we might not always see them as “blessed” by worldly standards, maybe the kingdom life is so much greater than this alternate reality we are sold. I think it might be a little easier to say now…Blessed are those who mourn, for they are living out a greater reality with hope of Resurrection than those who go through this life thinking this is all there is.