Faith at Work LXXX

March 2011

So, to our second beatitude: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” That sounds straightforward until you ask what are they mourning about. As I write this, I remember two people I have spoken to recently on the shop floor who have mentioned death to me. One had lost a friend in his thirties – he did not know the specific cause of death despite the post-mortem, though there had been a history of epilepsy which was thought likely to be the reason – he is working through that; the other had told me the week before about a death threat on him from a rival, so I was pleased and relieved to see him and hear him say: “I’m still here.” That’s not easy for him to live through either – they both need comfort, but for quite different reasons.

Last time the first beatitude led us to become more aware of our journey through life and we thought about questions we could use for strengthening our resolve to know God. The second beatitude leads us to think more about our emotional state and the knowledge about where we are on our journey, and of how far we have to travel. We may mourn the loss of a friend or family member, but we can also mourn the distance that separates us from our true destiny, our coming face to face with God. That immediately makes it easier; we realise that we are blessed in the growing relationship with the spirit who dwells in our hearts, a source of true wisdom and one who Jesus promised will lead us into all truth.

But we have to be patient and listen carefully as the dialogue takes place between our self and the spirit. As in any conversation, it helps to listen whilst the other is speaking and to be heard when we are responding. Hearing people explore with me their current concerns is one aspect of what I do as a workplace chaplain – I may have some clues but I won’t necessarily have answers, but I hope that they might find them as they explain to me where they are and gradually come to know what they will do next. You can think of it as a process of tuning in to the wisdom that the spirit brings into our lives.

I am planning to explore that in more depth in the Autumn as I take a six-month Sabbatical until the beginning of Lent 2012. This series exploring the beatitudes will take me up to October and I am hoping that this in itself will give me some leads for following up in various ways. I expect to return to a reduced pattern of ministry made clear by the experiences during my time away from the front line and I am grateful for the support everyone is giving me. So let us pray using last year’s Lent course prayer by Paula Gooder:

Loving God, be present with us we pray.
Send your Spirit
to open our minds to hear your word,
our hearts to meet you afresh
and our lives to follow your will.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2011-02-07

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