Lenten Reflection: Jesus that Laughs

Painted in 2011, eunsung kim

 “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:21.

 As a boy growing up in the church, the Season of Lent was always a serious time.  A time to roll up your sleeves and really delve into your faith, and commit to deepening my faith with God.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up message that being a follower of Christ means being austere and serious, I make a sacrifice to give up things that are holding me from fully trusting in God.  While, some of the messages I picked up as a child about faith was true; a lot of my journey of deepening my faith in God has been to discard old ideas, and be willing to experience a God, beyond my limited understanding, here and now midst my own joys and sufferings.

I always thought Jesus was so serious, but I now imagine him being someone with profound joy and capacity for laughter that cuts through the heart of the matter.  My own experience has been that often the folks that have experienced the most profound suffering and sorrow have a great capacity to love, and to embrace moments of joy when they appear in our lives.  When Christ tells us that “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh;” Jesus is not only speaking to us who grieve and journey through loss, but his blessing includes himself.  Jesus knows firsthand what it is like to carry deep sorrow, and pain; we too feel overwhelmed and burdened by the responsibility of life, and walk sometimes with very heavy steps.

However, Jesus kept moving forward, even though he knew where the road would lead him.  He continued to do the work of the Father, kept teaching his often thick headed disciples, and kept on loving the people in his life.  Jesus touched, healed, laughed, cried, and shared life with the lepers, the forgotten, and despised people of his time and culture.

We do not have to weep, because our journey does not end in the cross.  We believe in a Risen Christ, and know in our hearts joyful tears knowing Christ has risen, and our weeping can truly be transformed into joyous laughter.  It is hard in the midst of grief to see what lies ahead, but remember friends you are not alone, Jesus who knows your inner most pain walks with you.

 Prayer

O Jesus, be with us as we walk through the joys and pains of life.  May our weeping be transformed into laughter: a deep knowing laughter of your strength and love.  Amen.

A Letter about Being Sucessful

Dear Friend,

You asked me how to be successful in the spiritual life; my answer is to that you must fail time and time again. Failure on the spiritual path teaches us that we that truly grow out of our own power, and we cannot walk this path alone. We grow in community, and we need others to show us how to pick up the pieces once more when our lives become shattered and broken. In our weakness, we learn that we need God’s love to sustain us and to help us grow.

I know that you shy away from Scripture, but yet you love the Beatitudes: 

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! (Luke 6:20-22). 

You told me once that these words call you to walk a humble path, and ask of you to live in a state of willingness, honesty and open mindedness.  To be successful in the spiritual life is to know that life dedicated to self leads to a dead end because we will always crave more. You strive to follow the path of the Buddha, but even he saw that life filled with glorifying self leads to futility:

Those who are selfish suffer here and hereafter; they suffer in both worlds from the results of their own actions. But those who are selfless rejoice here and rejoice heresfter. They rejoice in both worlds from the results.of their actions. (Dhammapada 1:15-16)

A life dedicated to spiritual principles and helping others gives us a deeper purpose and meaning that is beyond any worldly success.  I strive to love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all your mind; and love my neighbor as myself. You strive to live by the path of the Buddha, who dedicated his life to teaching others so they may also be free from suffering. Both paths lead us to be successful by allowing higher principles to guide our thoughts and actions. 

I hope this letter finds you well. I will hold you in my prayers. I am grateful to be on this path with you.

In the Light,

Your Fellow Traveller