Mourning in Real Time - Posted 9/21/2016
From Pastor Chris

On Sunday I will preach on “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We have opportunities right now to put Jesus’ teaching into practice as we watch the news. First, some background.

The context of Jesus’ pronouncement is the coming of the kingdom of God, particularly in Jesus’ own rule. The beatitudes describe how fallen humans should respond when encountering King Jesus: embrace their spiritual bankruptcy, submit to his authority, hunger for justice, show mercy to others, etc. The reason mourners are blessed is because they see the way things should be under Jesus’ rule in contrast with the way things are in this world. And they weep.

This should shape how we watch the news coming out of Tulsa and Charlotte this week. As I read the stories, it is easy for me to jump immediately to the open questions: why didn’t the man in Tulsa answer the officer’s questions and follow her commands? Did the man in Charlotte have a gun or a book in his hand? In both cases, did the men pose actual threats to the officers? Why was deadly force used?

These questions may or may not be answered. But getting the answers is not our primary concern. Our first response should be to mourn. “Blessed are those who mourn.” We mourn that families have lost someone dear to them. We mourn that our nation has a history of oppressing blacks. We mourn that distrust continues to exist between law enforcement and communities of color. We mourn that police officers must put their own lives in danger every time they wear their uniform. We mourn that officers must use deadly force in some situations and live with reality of having taken a life. We mourn the sin in our own hearts that necessitates law enforcement.

Commit yourself to mourning this week. As you see the news updated, do not merely ingest information. Feel the brokenness of our world. Then set your hope on Jesus and the kingdom of justice and peace he will bring. And pray for God to make you and agent of justice and peace as we await our King’s return.

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