This is part two of my multi-part series, focusing on the many people who Jesus calls blessed in the Beatitudes of Matthew’s gospel. All this to say, this series, and all of the posts in it, including this one, will be pretty spiritually and religiously focused. Read at own discretion.
“Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
Our world is full of people who mourn. Most people mourn in their lives, at some point. We may mourn the deceased, both those we knew and total strangers. We may mourn opportunities that have passed us by, the memories to which we cling, and even former versions of ourselves. What tie all of these visions of people mourning together is the idea of something being lost, that was precious in some way, and which no longer is.
On a very real level, for myself now, I see the people who mourn most are the oppressed. Often, the marginalized and oppressed people, especially of this nation, mourn the unfair deaths of friends, children, brothers and sisters, lovers, parents, and total strangers that could’ve been the people we hold closest. I think of the deaths that are most often brought up: the deaths of the victims of gun violence and police brutality. Those deaths are mourned by friend and stranger alike. Those lives are often brought into question: did they, for whatever reason, deserve to die?
No. No one deserves to die, specifically at the hands of another human being. We are not the ones to decide who lives and who dies. The death of police officers should be just as troubling and sorrowful as those who are killed by police. Truly, there is value in all lives, not simply black lives or brown lives or blue lives. But to say that means to affirm that indeed, Black Lives do Matter. Brown Lives do Matter. And Blue Lives do, in fact, matter. If someone is to claim that All Lives Matter then they should not question the value of Black or Brown Lives.
But here, it is not the lives that are lost, that Jesus is speaking to. It is those who remain. Jesus calls those who mourn blessed. It is the ones who cry with a heavy heart, who feel the hollowness of their stomach even more present, whom Jesus says will be comforted. Why should the dead be comforted? It is those who cry, who call for change, who march for the lives to be remembered, and actions be taken in the honor of those who died. Those are the people that God will make sure are comforted.
But how do we find comfort? Do we wait for the slow work of the Lord to ease peace and comfort back into our hearts? Do we take the initiative on our own, change the world around us to feel comforted, regardless of the cost? I think the truth is, we have to be contemplatives in action. To pray, and let the Lord heal, but also know that the Lord stirs emotion and work in our own hearts so that we may turn that into action. Above all, to pray and discern is most important, but to not let discernment lead to inaction simply by virtue of the nature of prayer. Prayer does not mean passive, but it might make us more so. Above all, pray for our brothers and sister, and continue to meet them where they are.
The photo, I want to mention, is a photo of Mike Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, from Beyoncé’s video-album, Lemonade. The right to the image belongs to HBO.
Thank you for reading. There will be more, tomorrow. Also, enjoy the new updated look of the blog. Peace. A.M.D.G.