Forest Lake Talks

11/28/22 Devotional from Ed

November 28, 2022

Text: Matthew 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Devotional: If given the option of picking the thing I look for the most in other people, authenticity would be my top draft choice. If I sense someone is authentic, I'm drawn instantly.

Jesus, as we know, is authentic.

I've heard Jesus' transforming words from the Sermon on the Mount many times, but when I hear these words above in particular, I find myself listening for authenticity from the deliverer. I worry these heartfelt, comforting words from Jesus are often (sometimes flippantly) said without thinking of the meaning behind them. Mourning, loss, and grief are real, and the mixture of the three is highly personal and frankly, indefinable.

What can we make out of Jesus' words this morning as we continue down the path of Advent 2022 at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church, a path that forces us to think about our longings and hopes, a path that prevents us from glossing over loss?

In Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstoff describes his grief after losing his twenty-five year-old son, Eric, in a mountain climbing accident. After his son's death, he describes his changed outlook on life, a life that was now seen "through tears. Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see. Dry-eyed, we may look right past the pain, the loneliness, the ache the next person harbors. Dry-eyed, we may flit off to a party, forgetting that war is being waged on this planet, that children are dying during that party for simple lack of food or medicine. Dry-eyed, we forget the gross unfairness of the world's system of meting out its rewards: the evil seemed to succeed, while the holy, the humble, those who look like those Beatitudes, suffer."

This makes me ask the following rhetorical question: If we only see the world through dry eyes, are we being authentic to the needs around us?

I appreciate Wolterstoff's words above and know that grief and loss change our outlook permanently.

As we talked about yesterday, look for those around you who long for comfort this holiday season.

Prayer: Holy God, fill us with your spirit this week. If our eyes are dry, may we look for those to comfort. If our eyes are a little wet, remind us of your presence. Amen.

Work Cited: Howell, James C. The Beatitudes for Today. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 43.

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