Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt 5:4 ESV)

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

While my focus is on mourning, each Beatitude builds on the previous so allow me a minute to address what it means to be both “blessed” and “poor in spirit.”

“Blessed” means to be a recipient of divine favor or approval. The opposite of blessed is cursed. There are only two paths, blessed or cursed. The blessed person in Matthew 5:3, the one who is “poor in spirit” is the one who is humble and acknowledges their need for God in every area of their life. God’s divine favor, approval, endorsement rests on those who are “poor in spirit” and their reward is “the kingdom of heaven” life spent in eternity with the Holy Triune God.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (5:4). In the Greek mourning is a present, active, participle which means that we should be repeatedly mourning. This is not a one time event! Only the person who is poor in spirit is the one who is able to authentically mourn. And how do we do this? Why should we mourn? Pastor Keith yesterday (6 Dec 2020) gave three layers or reasons for why we mourn: over personal sin, over the persistence of sin, over the pervasiveness of sin.

Many cultures today (especially in the States) do everything they can to run from or mask pain and discomfort. The world promotes that we should be as happy as we can because the world is bad enough. As Lloyd-Jones states, “The whole organization of life, the pleasure mania, the money, energy, and enthusiasm that are expended in entertaining people, are all just an expression of the great aim of the world to get away from the idea of mourning and this spirit of mourning” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, p. 43).

The Gospel does indeed say, “blessed are those who mourn.” Once we acknowledge that we are “poor in spirit” we have no choice but to authentically progress to mourning over our sins personally and corporately. We are called to mourn, to rejoice and to be content. I mourn and lament the sin that is within me that has helped promote the problems that we have in this world today. Like Paul, I mourn and hate the persistence and pervasiveness of my own sins and the sins of others that are causing the problems that we are seeing in society today (Romans 7:18-24).

Folks, I will be honest, I have been mourning what has happened and is happening in our world today. I am fully aware that for those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ that we are Kingdom citizens first and foremost. I am NOT asking God for things to go back to how they were prior, I acknowledge and am fully aware that God’s ways, plans and thoughts are NOT mine and I am following Him! However, I also know that if I do not acknowledge my grief and admit that I am mourning to God, myself and others two things will happen definitely happen 1. I will become angry and 2. Anger will cause me to sin in which I miss/forfeit God’s comfort. There’s also a 3rd component which is more of a risk, if I do not acknowledge to others that I am mourning, I may miss the comfort that God has given them to give to me.

Unlike the first hearers of Matthew’s Gospel, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. We have the Comforter of comforters inside of us who will help us, strengthen us in our mourning when we acknowledge our brokenness over our sin, when we express our hurts, pain and fears to Him. We should not stay in mourning, we should experience His comfort and the comfort of others; however, we cannot deny that we have a need to mourn. Again, mourning is a byproduct of the one who is poor in spirit. Being poor in spirit and mourning both have to do with our vertical and our horizontal relationships in the face of oppression and opposition.

Mourning requires self-examination and self-reflection. This Advent season, may we not run from mourning but rather run to mourning, knowing that in the Incarnation, God Himself took on Flesh to reconcile sinful man to Holy God by dying a criminal’s death on a cross, buried and in the grave for three days, Resurrected from the dead, who is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Fifty days after Jesus Ascended to Heaven, the Father through the Son sent the Holy Spirit to indwell, comfort, advocate on behalf of all those who will believe in Him.

May we mourn knowing that God will comfort us now and even more so in eternity. I have no idea what mourning looks like for you dear reader, but know that Jesus is with you and that He loves you and so do I.

Father God, help us to mourn and lament our sin and the sins of what we see around us. Thank You Father that although we are called to mourn we are also called to rejoice. Lord God, thank You for being a God who allows us to express our emotions and that You will help us process our emotions and circumstances in a manner that honors You and brings You glory. Lord God, Your glory is the manifestation of Your Holiness. Lord God, make us more aware and more sensitive to our spiritual poverty in this Christmas season. Lord God, 2020 has been a tough year for just about everyone in so many different ways. Lord God, make us sensitive to NOT look down on those who are mourning but to comfort them, being quick to listen and slow to speak. Lord God, thank You that mourning and comfort go together. Lord God, thank You for the gift of this reader. Meet with them today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Published by

Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

88 thoughts on “Mourning”

  1. Thank you Mandy for your studious reflections on mourning. I found this very thought provoking and also encouraging (!)
    I have found that mourning is a daily occurrence, checking my standing before Almighty God. It drives me to strive, serving Him better, despite my humanity. Mourning is the exercise that shows me my darkness and pain, so that I can seek His healing light. God bless you sister for this study. May He continue to guide you and protect you daily.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, Alan! Thank you SO much for your encouragement, I am truly humbled! It takes great courage to mourn, it goes against everything our culture stands for. I am so thankful for you and your heart for Jesus! Love and blessings to you and yours!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Amen! Well said, Mandy! May GOD the HOLY SPIRIT convicts us always as we reflect and lament on our sins; and be sober-minded in the process of yearning for our Savior and Lord tobforgive us. Praying with you. GOD bless you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Kent! I really appreciate them and you! I thought of you as I was writing this and holiness being the manifestation of God’s glory and one day we will have glorified, resurrected bodies that dwell in the presence of our Holy Triune God. Love, blessings and prayers for you and your family!!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is such a great post. I’ll try not to write an essay on here :-p and just say that I feel you! I totally agree. This part I especially have noticed of late:

    “Many cultures today (especially in the States) do everything they can to run from or mask pain and discomfort. The world promotes that we should be as happy as we can because the world is bad enough.”

    Wonderful post 🙂 Have a good week and God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mandy, thanks for this thoughtful post. We were taught at our first Gospel-preaching church decades ago that having any emotion other than joy was sinful and a lack of faith. The members of that church were “Stepford Wives” Christian automatons. I know the Lord ultimately desires for us to have peace and joy in all circumstances through His grace, but He meets us where we are at. And, yes, we do mourn for our weakness and disobedience.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: False teaching

        Thank you! There was one particularly odious incident when I got caught up in that “Stepford” mentality, which I recalled thanks to your post. It will be my next post draft. BTW, every believer should read MLJ’s “Studies on the Sermon on the Mount.”

        RE: Interview
        Thank you! The recruiter never sent me an appointment. I emailed her first thing this a.m. but she is off today. The “inquisitors” called me on the phone wondering what was up. The interview went very well. Thank you so much for your prayers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup, I saw that headline this morning as well. That and other recent news reveal Francis is making a very concerted effort to reach out to Islam. One article said the “Christian” population of Iraq has shrunk from 1.5 million to 300K over the last two decades with all the turmoil and he will also be trying to bolster that up.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. RE: I really am an eager sponge of a student!

        Pretty soon, you’ll be correcting me about various intricacies of Catholic doctrine!

        Yup, Francis will be trying to emphasize the shared origins with the visit to Ur. Among other things, Francis’ latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti (All Brothers), encourages continuing rapprochement with Islam, with several references to Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I hate to see anyone lose their job, but the Bolts’ head coach is over his head.

        RE: RIT
        Thanks! Yup, the Tigers won both games over the weekend and I happily listened to the radio broadcasts via my iPhone. No TV coverage this year.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks! The Tigers always have good seasons because they have an exceptional coach who draws the best from the players despite the fact that the college doesn’t offer any athletic scholarships.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah, it’s a credit to Coach Wilson and the players that they’re competitive and routinely make the playoffs every year. All of the other schools in the conference offer athletic scholarships. RIT isn’t allowed to offer athletic scholarships for its Division I hockey program because its other sports programs are Division III.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Linda Lee!! I really did have you in mind writing this. You are loved pretty lady, truly. I don’t profess to know or understand why you and your family are enduring all these trials but do know that you are NOT alone! If you are ever visiting your peeps in Lancaster you are welcome here, please know that!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good stuff here, Mandy. Great meat to chew on. On my dad’s side of the family, they all tend to be made of steel. Funerals, weddings, the loss of a Dallas Cowboy game, you can always expect zero tears, zero expressions, zero comfort. It can be the tragic death of a toddler & at the funeral, stone face mode. Now, they are west Texas tough, sons and daughters of pioneers and homesteaders. Still, I am always amazed to witness the visual lack of mourning. As for mourning over sins, I tend to do so over and over again throughout decades. It would be great to “shake off” the memory of the ghosts of sins past, but I have never been good at it. Sure, through the cross I have been forgiven, but the mourning, the strain of mourning continues with me. One day, tears will be dried up. God’s grip. Hugs from here, Alan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alan, my heart breaks for you and over you (NOT in a bad way). You are a man who loves and feels with his whole heart (Heb sense mind, will, emotions) whether it is joy or pain. Perfectionism is a horrible, terrible thing (I know I suffer from this!), not wanting to disappoint God and man is a constant cesspool of emotion. I understand what you are saying about past sins. I have SERIOUS issues when it comes to shame/embarrassment. There are so many times when a shameful memory or some sin from my past comes to mind and I literally say out loud, “I am not my past” or “thank You Jesus that I am no longer…” I remember in the summer of 2010, I just got back from Sierra Leone and I was crying and crying because I was so distraught about being back in the States, I missed my new family in SL and I said to my mom, “please do not keep me from mourning, please do not pray for me to not walk hard roads because it is in these hard roads where God meets me and changes me.” I know this is not an easy time for you right now. While I am praising God there will be a day when our tears are “dried up” I am also praying for God to send people to encourage you, bolster you, walk with you. Alan, you are truly a beautiful man with a kind spirit, I am praising God for you! Love and blessings sweet man!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Mandy, I think it is natural for a Christian to mourn. Jesus said in Matt 5:4 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” and Romans 8:23 reads “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies”. And then we are told to Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Being anxious is another way of saying being concerned or distressed about something and can be not far off the mark from mourning. Jesus knows exactly what we feel and think and He looks at our hearts. I would say to never be afraid to tell it like it is to Jesus, He already knows what is in our hearts and minds before the words leave our lips anyway. In fact, if being mournful doesn’t touch you from time to time, I would question why. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Bruce! Thank you for taking the time to read this! I have met many a people who find mourning and meekness equivalent to weakness. I agree wholeheartedly that we should tell Jesus what exactly is in/on our hearts and minds as He already knows! Blessings to you and Peggy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think there is a lot of mourning going on with this pandemic, and people don’t even realize it. Hence all the vitriol that comes out when people can’t acknowledge our true feelings. God gave us all our emotions for a reason, not just the positive ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Josh! I agree with that! I will be honest, I am mourning over what is happening in this country (which is so far past Trump and Biden). On both sides of the political aisle I just want to scream no government program or lack there of will reform or change hearts. Only Jesus changes/wins hearts and minds. I may not be saying this very well! God is helping me to mourn now so that I can comfort and encourage others later, if that makes sense?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What you said makes perfect sense. There is something very bad in the air right now. You can look at the political system as a great example, and you can also look to basic parts of life.

        I recently watched a high school football player blindside a referee who kicked the player out for some kind of unsportsman like conduct. I’ve seen people berate employees in fast food and retail businesses like the employees are nothing.

        There’s a lot of bad behavior going on again and again. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the saying, but “politics is downstream of culture” makes more and more sense to me by the day.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I saw that football clip and I was stunned! I have not heard of that saying and it does make sense! Thank you Josh for sharing your good thoughts! I am thankful that for all the bad and evil in the air that the Holy Spirit is breathing life into His people! I am thankful for you, Josh!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a good post sister. I think you captured how many Christians feel about things in America in 2020. Love your look at Matthew 5 and even how you touched on the Greek and also the three importance of mourning biblically means also opening the door for others that God intend to use to minister and comfort us. A much timely post sister

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will cover a special topic on purgatory tonight as prep for an apologetics podast I’m doing on Thursday for this guy in the Philippines. I’m thinking of doing Messianic prophecies on December 22!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Lord, give Mandy and many believers encouragement, the darks are dark and there’s so much that is simply crazy, we pray for your grace for us to shine as light at this time In Jesus name we pray Amen

        Liked by 1 person

    1. 3-0 Army, seriously foggy. Affecting play big time. Pres Trump was well received by the Cadets and Midshipmen, I was glad for that. Regardless of opinion, respect the office of the President, period.

      I am glad you have youth to interact with this week!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Glad to hear your day wasn’t bad! Church was good for us, had a good prayer that was encouraging to hear people pray for various prayers regarding missions. Had some questions from some concerning the Christmas Eve night service on Zoom that’s coming up!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Answering your question on my blog: I have not read Keener’s commentaries on Acts though I hear good thing said about it! What is it now, four or five volumes? Are you using it particularly for any study of your own, be it for researching something or devotional?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s 4 volumes. I used it once for a PhD project on the role of the Holy Spirit in Teaching and Learning. That was one of the worst and most difficult papers I ever had to write for Dr. Michael Anthony. It is God I didn’t fail that class! I do have Keener’s book on Galatians, IVP NT background, which I don’t really recommend due to the way he cites his material—that frustrates me, I’m a nerd like that! I have but haven’t read his Christobiography.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow I’m encouraged to hear all that gives me a better lay of the land. Of all the NT scholars name Craig I think Keener stands out with not only his contribution towards Acts but also his ministry in Africa and how he met his wife!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Just saw your comment on my post! Yes we would still love you to share this Saturday! Let me email you the Zoom meeting number and details late tonight after I finish my Bible study prep and also teaching tonight (plus dinner and all) if that’s ok?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I’m super behind, we had the Gas company come to our place and I talked to the guy for an hour than somene was suicidal I know form online and talked to him for a long time so that cut into my prep time, thank you for your prayers!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Answering your question: Yes you can share with Kent to join in on Saturday! I’m wondering if that might be very late night for him at that time, but no problem on our end! It’s actually the same code as Tuesday night’s study by the way! Hang in there with the snow storm!

    Liked by 1 person

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