“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
We live in a culture that fears pain and death. Now on the surface this may sound a bit silly; who would honestly welcome death with open arms? Yet sometimes our glass is always half full attitudes can make us naively blind to the fact that there is pain and death in our world. There are billions of people right now who are without food or water. People who are dying from cancer and aids, people who are dealing with run away children, the void of a broken marriage or the excruciating evil of sexual abuse. Sometimes this pain is physical and sometimes it’s spiritual. Sometimes it’s inflicted upon us and sometimes we bring it upon ourselves. Irregardless, the fact remains that pain and death are a part of life; a part that we should never have to face alone.
In the context of 1st century Jewish culture almost every faucet of life was communal, including mourning. When a person passed away, became ill or was abused it was felt by the entire community. In many ways this entire concept is well personified in Epic Mickey. As the Blot raged through the Wasteland one of the many casualties was Ortensia, the life-love of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. We see in the game that the end result is that the loss of Ortensia is not Oswald’s pain to bear alone but rather the entire community throughout the wasteland grieves with Oswald. They come along side him in order to pick him up and help him to not suffer alone.
This is what Christ is calling us to: to acknowledge our meekness in pain so that He and the community of the Kingdom may come along side us. Something amazing happens when we do this; Christ becomes central in our pain and thus the light of the world is invited into our darkness. The love, the beauty, the truth and the healing that is embodied in the Lord then enters into our space and allows room for restoration to begin. However, this in only one aspect of the comfort we receive.
When we take this stance we are also allowing the community of the Kingdom to enter into our lives and establish a life-giving resonance of community. Instead of being doomed to the caged isolation of our pain we are set free by the love of the people around us. This allows for a new space of collaboration and reconstruction where our brokenness can be healed by the loving efforts of others in our community. The community through Christ may bring food and water, may counsel our marriage, may hold our hands during chemo, and may help us be restored when others have taken advantage of us.
This is the hope of the Kingdom of God; that together with Christ we may mourn together so that we may be reconciled together and live a life that is full of truth and beauty. Oswald, Mickey and the Wasteland residents grieved together but this communal grief then spurred their action toward a resolution. The Blot and all its wicked ways was defeated when they collaborated together in the midst of their pain and the result was that life and restoration came back to the Wasteland. Granted real life doesn’t always have such a happy ending but if it doesn’t, then at least we don’t ever have to go at it alone.