Summary: This sermon is about hope of the second coming.
Let’s begin this morning by reading John 1 beginning in verse 1 and continuing to verse 9.
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
It was one of those nightmares. The kind where you wake up screaming only there’s no sound coming out. Thank goodness, because it surely would have woken up Storm who would wonder what I was screaming for.
Snakes. Every nightmare I have seems to be about snakes. It was rattlers this time and they were in my house.
I glanced at the clock. Only three-thirty. That means that was still plenty of time to get some sleep. I could get a drink of water and go back to sleep so easily.
Only… I can’t put my feet on the floor. Somehow I know those rattlers are just waiting for me to do just that. You know, they just wait for your feet to touch the floor then wham. They got you. No way I’m doing that.
Now I’ve got to go to the bathroom. It’s only 3:45. Was that something outside the window? Maybe the snakes haven’t gotten in yet. No. Don’t believe that. The noise outside is just a decoy. They’re trying to get me to believe that they aren’t really in the house. How dark the night.
3:50. I glance at the floor. I swear it’s moving. It might just be shadows.
3:55. Too many times of watching The Raiders of the Lost Ark, reminds me that the floor slithers when there are that many serpents down there. I mumble, “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” How dark the night.
3:57. I stifle another scream as something brushes up against my legs. Now they’re under the covers. Or it might just have been my wife turning in her sleep. How dark the night.
3:58. I probably should stop watching Croc Hunter just before going to bed. How dark the night.
3:59. Is that hissing next to my head?
4:00. WILL THIS NIGHT EVER END?
We can all laugh at my foolishness. Because we’ve all had nights like that. Ones that never end. The dawn seems so far away.
As I lay there in bed, I am reminded of the old city watchmen. Perhaps you’ve read about them or seen them in old movies. They call out, “One O’clock and all is well.”
Only everything isn’t well. Remember it’s four AM and the snakes are still there.
Life is like that too. We live in a darkened world. All around us are the groanings of the world.
There’s been another school shooting in another state. A family disappears, lost, in the mountains during a winter storm. A movie inspires young people to kill at random. How dark the night.
A serial killer has no explanation for the lives he took. Gang warfare opens on city streets. Another house of innocent people is riddled by stray bullets. How dark the night.
Your children no longer listen to what you say. Maybe they never come to visit or call on the phone. How dark the night.
Friends walk away and turn their back on you. How dark the night.
Your spouse abandons you for a “better” life. How dark the night.
How much longer can this night go on?
When I speak of darkness though I’m not talking about color or even a physical darkness. It can’t be seen. It can be felt. It exists. It’s there. We’ve all felt it. And so often we think there is no way to get away from it. But we try.
Some people try to hide from it. We think that if we turn off our televisions, stop listening to the radio, and cancel our subscription to the newspaper, it will just go away. “We’ll bury ourselves in the Word of God,” we say. Only that doesn’t give an escape. We have only to go to the grocery store and we still hear about all the bad things that are going on in the world. Some people have even gone so far as ordering their groceries by phone or Internet just to avoid hearing about the world. And then they come to church. Other members who haven’t turned off the TV still talk about the problems. The pastor uses the issues as sermon illustrations.