It’s Ok To Be Sad or Blessed Are The Ones Who Mourn…

One of my favorite records is from a band called Brand New. The album is called ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.’ I remember when this album came out back in 2006 I saw Brand New play at UVA where they tried out a few new songs from the record. It blew us all away because it was such a different sound from their previous work. Devil and God is an album about as deep as anything I have ever listened to. It deals with death, the after life, questions of evil and good, questions of meaning in the face of senseless acts of violence, and the biggest question of all, is there redemption for humanity after we’ve done all we’ve done? In many ways it would be like Rust from season 1 of True Detective putting an album together of existential thought… ok maybe not that dark. Anyway, there’s a song on this album called “Limousine (MS Rebridge)” that tells the story of a little girl killed at the age of seven. I can’t recall her name but she was a flower girl in her aunt’s wedding on the day she was killed. The family was riding in a Limousine when a drunk driver started driving the wrong way down the highway. When the drunk driver hit the Limo the little girl was decapitated. She was only seven years old. This song starts out with the words,

“Get your petals out and lay them in the aisle
Pretend your garden grows and it’s your day to wed.
We found your man, he’s drinking up, he’s all-American…”

It’s a haunting opening and it breaks my heart to read the words. Toward the end of the song it builds into this massive wailing like I’ve never heard in a song before. He repeats this line from the perspective of the family while counting up to her age, seven. I would encourage you all to listen to this entire record but if you listen to one song listen to this one. I’ve linked the song in this post at the bottom. At least get to the 3:15 marker where it builds. This is a song thats worth your time.

” Well I love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
One’ll love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Two’ll love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Three’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Four’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Five’ll will love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply,
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Six’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Seven loves you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.”

We live in a society that doesn’t value the process of mourning. We don’t do ‘sad’ very well at all. When we do feel pain or empathy toward a person in pain we often has the instinct to move forward as quickly as possible without allowing the pain to seep into being, baring the pain of others. We want people to be happy and for our realities to go back to the status quo they were at before so-and-so got sick or before my friend’s daughter was killed. This is an understandable reaction.  Who wants to be sad or who wants to cry? Who wants to feel pain? No one. Which is what makes this next sentence so outrageous. “Blessings on the ones who mourn, they will be comforted.” Jesus actually pronounces a blessing on the people who are currently mourning and in pain. His entire life is spent among those very people. He actually breaks down over the death of one of his close friends to such an extent that hes actually angered at the injustice that is death. This is a man who is very familiar with pain and mourning. And he says you are blessed when you mourn. We should note how ancient Jewish culture would mourn. It was a very big deal. This is where the sackcloth and ashes thing comes from. Often a person would shave their head. It was an event. They wouldn’t just have a funeral and scatter ashes. In our society of ‘he’s in a better place’ we have no real category for the mourners of old. Death doesn’t need to be quietly ushered aside as though it were a natural occurrence. N.T. Wright speak of death as containing the very sorrow of god over the way his creation has split. The creator is very present in the moments of death and this creator mourns with his creation. The truth is that we need to allow ourselves to mourn better than we do especially when we follow a god who allows himself this mourning. This doesn’t mean we escape into a sense of delusional bleakness that coats our reality. We can mourn and allow pain to penetrate us while fully retaining the hope of Life itself. I’ll touch more on that hope later because I really want this to sink in, “blessed are those who mourn,” because this is what god is like.

Seriously watch this video… do it, do it now!

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