Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 18th October 1998
From the Pastor: Beatitudes and PC III
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4|
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", concludes the American
Declaration of Independence, are the chief end of man. Indeed, it could be said
that these three ideals are the most highly prized in our present world, where
the hedonistic values of personal pleasure, liberty and happiness underlie
much of the morality and even legislation of the past generation. We hear it
for example, in respect of easy divorce: if there is a "marriage breakdown" the
way out must, it is contended, be facilitated so that the aggrieved partners
maintain their "happiness". Even professing Christians justify such procedures
with the plea that "God's will is for us to be happy".
What a contrast is the second beatitude, which extols not happiness, but
mourning! Is Christ serious? Does He approve those with long faces? Is He
really saying, "Blessed are the masochists (or at least 'wet blankets')!"? Such
misconceptions are far from the mark. The mourners in the Bible are those who
observe sin both in their own lives and in the world at large, and weep. They
are the realists, as opposed to the frivolous and superficial who make up this
world. The Christian faces God, eternity, judgment and destiny as realities
and lives in their light.
With these in mind how shallow is PC! The God who has thundered against
idolatry, blasphemy, adultery, theft and covetousness has declared His
priorities. These are the things which should make us weep, not whether we call
the president of a meeting the "chairman" or "chairperson", still less that we
include homosexuals in the Christian church or ordain women to the ministry.
The promise is that those who mourn "shall be comforted". That
comfort will be finally realized when the present mourner attains to the "new
heavens and new earth" where all tears shall be wiped away from all faces. To
be joyful then one must be a mourner now - regarding the essential things.