I just watched the new Star Wars trailer, and cried. I admit I’m a geek, so looking at the desert in the opening scene, hearing that voice and seeing Han and Chewie whipped me back to my youth and the original which was actually episode 4. This is confusing for anyone who doesn’t understand how it went, a topic for another blog or google. But as I sat to write, it set me thinking how everything is better, shinier, bigger when we are kids. Maybe kids best see the world as God intended it, full of wonder, opportunity and fairness. Growing up seems to involve realising the world isn’t fair, people are mean and you have to get what you can while you can. We look back with nostalgia on those golden years and wish, perhaps even mourn, for lost innocence, for that wide eyed way of looking and seeing and being.
As Christians we have more to mourn about than growing up: our own sin, the state of the world, those who don’t know Jesus. But He promises when we mourn we will be comforted. I talk a lot about joy, it’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit, we’re to be joyful in all circumstances, so where does mourning fit in? Where does the ‘no condemnation’ fit in? Can’t I do what I want when I want and God will forgive me? Some people have argued that we can, Paul said by no means and I am with Him.
I think mourning means firstly to take a long hard look at the sinful life I was leading and repent of it, to turn to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation and new life. Secondly once I have that new life mourning comes when I fail, when I stumble. Not to give me a long face crying ‘oh woe is me’ but to recognise the failure, recognise my need and turn again for the forgiveness. To have joy in the fact that He will provide strength and courage to go on, that I’m not left abandoned but constantly empowered by Him, filled with the Holy Spirit. Sober recognition of the tension between the New Creation and the sinful flesh.
Then I look at the world and I mourn for wars, for disasters, for people who are hurting, for people who are broken, for families in pieces, for children abused, for sin that saturates. I mourn and that drives me to pray. In prayer comes hope, comes the promises of God that He sees too, that He has already answered the need, that comfort is there for me and through me (and you) for them. That brings joy.
Mourning should not leave me hopeless. It should leave me reliant on Him. There’s comfort in Him for the past, the present and the future. That’s why the Gospel is such Good News and why I shouldn’t keep it to myself.