by Rev. Kathy Bouchard
Last Sunday, Arthur launched an eight-week series of sermons on the Beatitudes. As he noted in last week’s Postcards from the Edge, we are working with a theory presented by Jim Forest in his book, The Ladder of the Beatitudes. The idea is that each of the ancient blessings is a rung on a ladder that leads to the next. Forest suggests that the Beatitudes provide a doorway to the New Testament, providing an easily learned summary of everything that follows, all the way to the crucifixion (those who are persecuted) and the resurrection (“Rejoice and be glad.”).
This coming Sunday, I will explore with you Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” At first blush, it seems straight forward enough. We hear this and think of reaching out to those who are grieving a loss. We might even think about entire communities that find comfort in the face of tragedy as helpers move in to assist. On Sunday, we will consider the second Beatitude from that perspective, but I’ll also try to present a broader view that takes into consideration the context in which Jesus presented the Beatitudes. Who might he have been thinking of when he said, “Blessed are those who mourn?” How might the listeners gathered around Jesus have heard that? And how might we hear this in the twenty-first century? Jesus had a way of turning the status quo upside down and topsy-turvy. Like the disciples of long ago, we just might find ourselves being stretched to see things in new ways as we listen to the second Beatitude in 2017.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!