Summary: A sermon about the abundance, extravagance, transformation, and new possibilities that God offers through Christ.
“A Glorious Superabundance of Grace”
By: Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
As many of you know I’m taking a course at the VA hospital called Clinical Pastoral Education.
This past week we had kind of a neat experience.
We went over to the Hospice Unit and spoke to the head nurse there for an hour or so.
She has been working in the Hospice Unit for about 20 years.
So, as you can imagine, she’s been at the bedside of many a dying patient.
This woman has a very strong Christian faith, and faith plays a great role in the lives of many people on the Hospice Unit.
She told us about many conversions that she has witnessed, and also told us how some people continue to reject the grace of Christ right down to the very end.
I was interested in hearing some stories about some of the deaths she has witnessed.
As many of you have probably heard, when many people are just about ready to pass away, they will see a great Light.
She said that she and the other nurses will often ask the patient if they see the Light as they are taking their last breathes.
If the patient says yes they will tell the dying person, “Go toward the Light. Go toward the Light.”
This helps for a peaceful transition from this life into the next.
Remember that throughout Scripture Jesus is portrayed as the Light of the world.
And in the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John it is recorded, “In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness…”
It’s so neat, that so many persons see that Light at the end of their lives on earth.
In John chapter 11 Jesus says: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
For those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ death is just a passing from this life to the next…in a very real sense…there is no real death!
And the best is yet to come!
This is the way it is with God.
Just take a look at our Gospel Lesson for this morning.
The master of the banquet called the bridegroom aside and in verse 10 says: “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
This is the way it is with the Christian life.
If we remain in Christ, life just keeps getting better and better.
And then, at the point when we leave our bodies to go to be with Christ…well, the best is definitely yet to come…as we move toward the Light into God’s eternal glory prepared for you, for me.
How exciting is that?
Sadly, though, the Head Nurse at the Hospice Unit told us that those who hold-out and never accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior…not even at the very end…
…well, they don’t see that Light.
That experience just doesn’t seem to occur for them.
This just reinforces what we, as Christians, saved by grace are called to do…
…which is witness to as many people as possible about the salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives…
…because we never know when it will be anyone’s time to take their last breath.
Now, some of us might be thinking: “How can I witness about Jesus?”
“My words are not eloquent enough. My life is not together enough.”
Well, my friends, if we all waited until we were ‘good enough’ to tell others about Jesus Christ…none of us would ever be able to say anything.
Because we are never good enough.
Remember, “it is by grace”…we… “have been saved, through faith—and this not from”…ourselves… “it is the gift of God.”
There is a lot of meat in this Gospel Lesson about Jesus and His disciples attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee.
Jesus and His mother and His disciples are invited to this wedding.
God made flesh, came and dwelt among us…He even went to parties.
And weddings, during this time in history were really big parties.
Oftentimes it would go on for a week, and for the family putting on the party to run out of wine…well…that was almost unthinkable.
It would be a terrible embarrassment.
So when the wine was gone, Jesus noticed six stone water jars, “the kind used for ceremonial washing.”
Which means that these jars were probably used by the people to clean their hands and feet.