Blessed Mourners

Jessica Bratt Carle

Read: Matthew 5:4

They shall be comforted. (v. 4)

In the midst of the beatitudes, Jesus offers a blessing to those who mourn. They are blessed, he says, because they shall be comforted. Being in the company of those who are grieving isn’t typically a state we think of as particularly blessed; in fact we tend to have sympathy for those who mourn, and we momentarily count our own blessings, thankful that we aren’t among the newly bereaved. Grief can be a tumultuous season. So how is it also a blessed state? On one level, I think Jesus utters a blessing for those who mourn because he aims to simply put forth the promise that they are not inconsolable. It’s like this for you right now, says Jesus, but you will be comforted.

There is also a bittersweet blessedness in the way that grief and loss elicit the support of those around us. This aspect of grief can be a challenge for us in contemporary society, where we might be reluctant to display our needs and our raw emotions, and where the bereaved are expected to “move on.” Jesus seems to be saying that in the season of mourning itself there is a blessing to be found. In mourning, as hard as it can be, we can take stock of the significance of our relationship with the one we lost. We come to see and appreciate in a new light what they taught us, how they shaped us, the ways they made their way through life’s challenges and foibles. —Jessica Bratt Carle

Prayer: Reveal your blessing to us in the midst of seasons of grief.