Mourn With Those Who Mourn
by Ramone Romero
“Remember those who are imprisoned, as if you are imprisoned with them. Call those to mind who are afflicted, as if you are the people who wear their bodies.“
Harmony asked me to share five paintings for this series Survivor Songs, the theme of which has been “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I prayed about which paintings to share, and after being impressed to use four, I felt the Spirit lead me to make a new one for the fifth. But it wasn’t what I (or Harmony) expected.
The Spirit told me to paint a family of Syrian refugees on the beach. And sadly, they are not alive. They died trying to reach a new land.
As I prayed about the painting, I understood that the theme verse of this series, the beatitude, is not merely a promise of blessing for those who mourn, but also a call to action for those who are not mourning. Elsewhere in the New Testament it is written, “Mourn with those who mourn.” We can rightly infer from this that we must also comfort those who mourn and grieve.
When Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who are weary and who carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” it was obviously a spiritual promise of the “rest” found in Him. But if we believe that His followers are “the body of Christ” – His hands and feet, as we commonly say – then we must also recognize that part of our calling is to give rest to the weary. As it is said in the New Testament, “Carry each other’s burdens, and by doing this you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
In the same way, we are called to be a blessing to those who mourn. We aren’t called to wait for the mourners to be comforted by Him at some point in the future, or on the last day. We are called to reach out and comfort them NOW, to fulfill His command to love them NOW. To remember those who suffer “as if you yourselves were suffering.”
And so as we think of the beautiful promise of mourners being comforted by Christ, we should also open our hearts and step out with actions of comfort for those mourners TODAY. We can and must be His arms of comfort to those who suffer.
As I looked through past paintings to use in the series, I realized I’ve done more than a few about this, particularly in the wake of the Tohoku disasters of March 2011 in Japan. But rather than use one of those paintings, He had me paint a grievous situation that is in the news today—a situation in which He calls us to mourn and be His arms of comfort for the suffering.
This is particularly important in light of the fact that some Christian voices are spreading fears of refugees actually being ISIS operatives aiming to infiltrate the nations. Perhaps that is happening in some amount, but we should remember Him who brought Judas Iscariot into His inner circle of fellowship, even though He knew what would happen. Jesus was not afraid to suffer for the sake of love. Neither should we fear.
Mourn for those who are suffering from Syria, and be His arms of comfort in prayer and in action. Hear the call of the beatitude to bless and comfort them.
Note from Harmony:
Here are three links to help you understand the refugee crisis, to help you comprehend what our role it it should be, and to give you practical next-steps. Please take a few minutes to look them over!
“We Welcome Refugees exists to empower the global church to be a key agent of hope and compassion in the Euorpe/Syria Refugee Crisis” A collaborated effort by many.
Partner church to church (your church can aid a church in the Middle East or Europe that is already actively aiding refugees), support a single refugee family, or give to organizations already on the ground.
From the website: “The local church is the most diverse social network on the planet. And it is rising up like never before to engage the great global issues of our time. God has called individuals, communities and the church to become champions of the poor and vulnerable.” – World Relief Agency
Ann Voskamp’s incredible piece filled with resources and how-tos.
“Now, now, is the time for the Church to be the Church. In the past, the Church may have been defined by what the Church is against — but, in this defining moment in history, may the Church be clearly defined by what it is for — and the Church has always been for the stranger, the sojourner, and the welcoming arms of the Savior. How can we not move heaven and earth to let the broken in – when heaven moved and came to earth to let us in”? – Ann Voskamp
A ready made toolkit of script, videos and handouts – all you need to present at your church or small group.
About The Artist/Author
Ramone Romero believes that God is real, personal, and still speaks today – often through visions, pictures and impressions in our spirits. Ramone’s art can be found at his artist’s portfolio and Facebook feed. His stunning paintings inspired by the First Nations Version Project are deeply moving and not to be missed.
This post is part of Survivor Songs, a 31-Day series. A full list of posts is found here.