For Those Who Mourn {a hillside sermon}

Blessings on the mourners. {Jesus}

I live with a woman who’s made friends with tears. And I tell you, Miska’s tears are one of the most powerful and beautiful things about her. When Miska and I first married, she rarely cried. I do remember that night during our first month in our first apartment, when we were still sleeping on a twenty-year-old hand-me-down mattress and box springs plopped on the floor. So many emotions, so raw. The tears came, but that was rare.

A couple years later, Miska began her grad program in counseling. She started to pay attention to her story; and she learned to pay attention to other’s stories. Miska is one of those rare people who truly listens, who hears you. Her tears signal strength, not frailty. A courageous woman, this wife of mine. She bears other’s sorrows and has become well acquainted with grief. She takes in other’s joy and weeps for all the beauty she sees. If you’ve never told your story to another and felt the sheer presence of someone’s tears over you, with you – well, I pray someday you receive that gift.

Of course, tears aren’t the only way to mourn (or express gratitude for beauty). But however one mourns, the mourner is not one we’d think of as blessed. The mourner is the one who knows the weight of things, the one who’s mistakes have brought him low, the one who can’t get over the loss, the one who carries another’s pain. The mourner lives with acute awareness of all the things we’ve lost in our world, all the places where we’ve gone wrong.

Some might call the mourners sentimental. Some might hurry them along the “stages of grief.” The mourners are the people we learn to work around, to acknowledge but keep on the edges where they won’t bother anyone.

But when Jesus announces the kingdom of God, he throws his arms open wide and speaks these words. BlessedBlessings on you who mourn, on you who know the sting of grief. To you who can never escape the tears, for you or for others. God is here. And you are blessed.

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