Christ Jesus stated the basis of Christianity in what is called the Sermon on the Mount. He showed the attitude that Christians are to maintain in relation to God, to themselves, and to others.
''Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,'' n1 the Master taught. For those who mourn over a loss, over the state of mankind, or who long for a better sense of existence, this can be seen as a promise of peace, a promise that mourning will pass and we will find comfort.
n1 Matthew 5:4.
But the Beatitudes are more than just promises of future peace. I think of them as the Be-attitudes; they show what a Christian is to be - the attitude one not only holds but lives. We are to be meek, to be merciful, to be peacemakers. What about mourning?
One of the definitions of ''mourn'' is ''to feel or express sorrow for (something regrettable).'' In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''If you commit a crime, should you acknowledge to yourself that you are a criminal? Yes.'' And further along she adds, ''To prove scientifically the error or unreality of sin, you must first see the claim of sin, and then destroy it.'' n2 Being sorry for thoughts or acts is a good first step. It breaks the mental holds that would justify wrong actions. But sin must be destroyed as well as regretted.
n2 Science and Health, p. 461.
God is Love, as the Bible teaches. And His all-embracing love is reflected by His children. Our natural attitude, then, is to express love. Our natural desires are for progress and peace. Our natural ambition is to serve Love more steadfastly.
Evil is unnatural. Evil is a mistake, because it presupposes an opposite of God, good, who is infinite. This wrong premise always leads to a wrong conclusion. One mistaken conclusion is that some evil is justified. Yet evil is never excusable. Another is that evil can actually outweigh good. This may seem true. But the spiritual fact of God's supremacy supersedes human conclusions. Mrs. Eddy states: ''Evil is but the counterpoise of nothingness. The greatest wrong is but a supposititious opposite of the highest right.'' n3 Good is omnipotent. One truth dispels years of lies.
n3 Science and Health, pp. 367-368.
Jacob must have learned true mourning at Peniel, when he struggled with his consciousness of past mistakes. He had stolen from his brother, Esau, and was now returning after many years out of the country. He feared to meet his brother , and he ''wrestled'' all night, as the Bible puts it. Finally, an angel message , a thought from God, asked him, ''What is thy name?'' He answered, ''Jacob.'' The angel then said, ''Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.'' n4 When he met Esau next morning, it was as if the past sins had been wiped away. He had gained a spiritual sense of life, a perception of his true nature, his Godlike being.
n4 Genesis 32:27, 28.
Doesn't ''Blessed are they that mourn,'' then, in its deepest sense, mean blessed are they that recognize evil as a lie, forsake it, and gain the realization of their true selfhood as Love's image? Then comes the promise, ''for they shall be comforted.'' We cannot sit on the first step of sorrow; we need, thought by thought, to climb to the mental attitude of finding all comfort in God, good, putting off wrongdoing, and discerning our true identity as Godlike.
As we climb, we find that there is no comfort in resentment or hatred. All comfort is in the understanding and demonstration of our natural state as the expression of God.
To those Israelites who were exiles in other nations, the prophet declared: ''The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.'' n5
n5 Isaiah 51:11.
To be the redeemed of the Lord, uncovering and destroying evil, and expressing natural good in thought and in deed - this is our only genuine comfort. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22