Mike Paget and Erica Hamence explore what it means to be "poor in spirit" and how the empty-handed find fullness in the kingdom of God.
Joyful are those who mourn; Happy are those who are sad; Blessed are those with "sorry business" and "sad news" for they shall be comforted.
In this teaching we hear from Aboriginal Christian leader Brooke Prentis and Shane Clifton, Professor of Theology at Alphacrucis College. Together they explore the paradox that through sadness, grief and mourning God speaks of blessing, and provides deep hope and comfort through his Spirit, his people and the hope of the cross.
"Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted."
Jesus was constantly followed by people who were oppressed, people who were sick or had a disability, people who were outcast from their community, the economy and society at large. So when Jesus first spoke these words on the mountain, his audience would have had an acute experience of mourning.
But in this beatitude we find a striking paradox, that in the Kingdom of God those who are sad and mourning can find happiness, joy and blessing.
Today in our lives, our society, and our world at large there are many reasons to mourn. We can go from wonderful celebration one day to tragedy the next, yet God promises to be there in all of it.
We see this most clearly in the cross, which is the ultimate symbol of blessing and mourning together. Here, at the foot of the cross, we can lay down all our griefs and burdens and wait in expectation of God hearing, comforting and responding.
This powerful teaching from Shane and Brooke invites us to reflect on our own reasons mourning, while being open-hearted to those mourning around us, in our family, our community, our society and across our world. Together, as we recognise the brokenness in our lives and our world, we are embraced by a God of comfort who took the pain of our world onto himself, and invites us to share that through love and action to others who are mourning.
Over the next five days, create some space to watch Shane and Brooke’s teaching, to personally reflect on your own experiences, to gather with those in your community and find comfort and blessing in these words. If someone you know would appreciate it this teaching, please share it with them:
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Daily Readings: Feb 19 - Feb 22
Throughout Lent we will be providing you with daily readings relating to each of the Beatitudes. This week, we're reflecting on what Jesus is teaching on being "those who mourn" through the following passages:
|Mon, Feb 19||Matthew 5:4 (our Beatitude for this week)|
|Tue, Feb 20||Isaiah 40:1-9 (what might Jesus be echoing?)|
|Wed, Feb 21||Luke 7:11-17 (how did Jesus engage with those who were mourning?)|
|Thu, Feb 22||2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (what do we learn about comfort?)|
|Fri, Feb 23||Our next teaching will be published|
Spiritual Practise: Grieving with a broken world
So often we hold the pain away or put our head in the sand. But this week, our spiritual practice is to look and listen - when you are confronted by things worthy of grief, look and listen. You may need to repent and acknowledge the ways you are complicit in hurt, or you may need to name and cry out on behalf of the hurting. Bring all these things to God and receive his comfort.
You may wish to explore further the grief of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters who have experienced much injustice over the last 230 years. You can grow in your understanding of their experience by exploring some resources here.
With Your Church: Involve your small group
If you are involved in a mid-week meetup of Christians, we encourage you to include this video in your discussions, to pray with one another that we may know God's comforting hand, and explore how you can partner with God in our world in bringing comfort, justice, relief and hope to those who are mourning.
Shane Clifton is the Professor of Theology at Alphacrucis College in Sydney, and an Honorary Associate at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. Brooke Prentis is a descendant of the Waka Waka people, Aboriginal Spokesperson for Common Grace, Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering, pastor, writer, speaker, and Chartered Accountant.
This video was filmed and edited by Daniel Fewchuck, with music licensed from The Brilliance.
This series has been produced by Common Grace and Bible Society Australia.