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Jan 13, 2019

Joy comes with the mourning

Joy comes with the mourning

Passage: Matthew 5:4

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: The Highest Good

No life escapes mourning. No person mourns the same way. In His precious few words about the misery common to all humanity, how does Jesus help us both rethink and respond to our inevitable experience with sorrow?
Artwork by Stacey Chacon
Artwork by Stacey Chacon

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Romans 8:38-39
Call To Worship: Psalm 30:1-5
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4
Sermon Title: Joy comes with the mourning
Central Text: Matthew 5:4
Response: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1 (see below)
Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Post-Service Text: John 16:33

01.13.19 Sermon Notes


Lars & Real Girl - Came to Sit

Finding Neverland - Believe

Patch Adams - Compassion


Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to
come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Call To Worship: Psalm 30:1-5
LEADER: 1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
ALL: 2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
LEADER: 3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
ALL: 5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

Central Text: Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted

Response: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul,
in life and in death, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly
willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 3:16
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Post-Service Text: John 16:33
33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Related Scriptures:


  • Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
  • Psalm 13
  • *Psalm 30 (esp v. 5 which inspires my sermon title)
  • Psalm 137:1-3
  • Isaiah 53:3
  • Isaiah 61:1-4
  • John 16:33
  • Romans 7:13-29
  • Romans 8:37-39
  • 1 Corinthians 7:29-30
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • 2 Corinthians 7:9-11
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Revelation 21:1-4

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. Who or what have you last mourned--or are mourning? Describe the experience. How would you define mourning? Does it have any purpose?
  2. [Have a look at the variety of perspectives on grief in the list of quotes. What thoughts or questions do they provoke? Do you agree with any of them? Would you refine any of them?]
  3. Some repress what gives occasion for mourning; some indulge it to a detrimental degree. How do you know, if or when, you drift in either direction?
  4. When do we see Jesus mourning? Or Paul? For what reasons?
  5. How is mourning for our own bent toward sin better and more faith-filled than mere self-loathing? How is our mourning for the sin in the church or the world greater than simple revulsion or condemnation? What thoughts have to form our mourning for it exhibit that “higher” quality?
  6. What are you mourning--what loss, significant disappointment, deep injustice, personal failing, or otherwise? How does the suffering that brought Jesus to tears reshape how you think about your reasons for mourning? How does what He accomplished through His mournful ministry do likewise?
  7. How is the Holy Spirit involved in our experience of mourning? How is the church called to be?
  8. How does our “blessed” mourning prepare us for being of assistance to others who find themselves in a similarly sorrowful state? (cf. 2 Cor. 1:3-7)


  • . . .simply begin to be a Christian, and you will soon find out what it means to mourn and to be sorrowful. Martin Luther
  • The terrible gift of a terrible illness is that it has in fact taught me to live in the moment. But when I look at these mementos, I realize that I am learning more than to seize the day. In losing my future, the mundane began to sparkle. The things I love — the things I should love — become clearer, brighter. This is transcendence, the past and the future experienced together in moments where I can see a flicker of eternity. Kate Bowler
  • . . . in deep sadness human beings are in God’s hand more than at any other time. . . .The deepest joy may reside in persons with the deepest sadness.  F.D. Bruner
  • Whatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately or immoderately upon them. John Flavel
  • The Christian should see two realities at once, one world (as it were) within another: one the world as we all know it, in all its beauty and terror, grandeur and dreariness, delight and anguish; and the other world in its first and ultimate truth, not simply “nature” but “creation,” an endless sea of glory, radiant with the beauty of God in every part, innocent of all violence. To see in this way is to rejoice and mourn at once, to regard the world as a mirror of infinite beauty, but as glimpsed through the veil of death; it is to see creation in chains, but beautiful as in the beginning of days.  David Bentley Har
  • For it is plain that the hope of a future life arises from the feeling which exists in the breast of every man that the temporal is inadequate to meet and satisfy the demands of his nature. And an unsatisfied nature generates its own futurity, as a fantastical railway engine might be imagined that lays out its own track before it as it rolls.’  Adam Roberts, The Thing Itself
  • Death; wow.  So . . . hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die.  You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times.  But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes."  We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. - Anne Lamott
  • I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child's faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do. What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can't believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God. Flannery O’Connor
  • There is a much bigger story of which this [suffering] is only a tiny part. And it is God’s story of love, hope, forgiveness, reconciliation, and joy. We went into this journey choosing to trust God and to offer our fears to God. We’ve been so grateful for the freedom from fear and the abundance of peace that we have experienced. . . .There are, of course, times of discouragement, grief, pain, and wonder. After all, there are a lot of unknowns ahead of us. Steve Hayner (d. 2015)
  • Every Sunday, my minister recalls the Atonement for us, and we tell God thank you. And we pray, in the middle of pain, in the face of death, that God would make good on his promise, and give us life. Kendall Gunter
  • You cannot love a fellow-creature fully till you love God. . . There’s something in natural affection which will lead it on to eternal love more easily than natural appetite could be led on. But there’s also something in it which makes it easier to stop at the natural level and mistake it for the heavenly. C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
  • In love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve.  Thornton Wilder
  • When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand. C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
  • Give sorrow to words; the grief that does not speak knits up the [over]wrought heart and bids it break. Shakespeare




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