Summary: A sermon about the hope which the Resurrection brngs about.
The Wilderness State
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus Christ is telling His
disciples, before His crucifixion, "now is your time of grief, but I will
see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
Jesus was not about to leave those who believe in Him, those who love
Him alone in say a wilderness state
The resurrection would change things permanently, bringing a joy that
cannot be removed by the assaults of the world.
Jesus said that there would be grief at first.
He would be going away and leaving the disciples by sacrificing Himself
for the world.
They would "weep" and "mourn" and experience deep grief.
Their hopes would seem to be dashed upon the rocks of humankinds
ultimate enemy: death.
But after this grief there was to be irrepressible joy.
Jesus said that He would arise, and His resurrection would cause His
followers to burst forth with joy.
And the same can be said of us today.
Before we came into a personal relationship with the risen Christ, we
werein effectin a state of deep mourning and grief.
We were traveling along in this world of darkness and shadowsas fallen
peopleas people who are living without God
without the knowledge of the love of God, without faith in Christ,
without hope that comes through faith, and joy that comes through faith,
and the "peace"the peace which transcends all understandingwhich only
comes from a daily walk with the risen Lord.
We were in a wilderness state.
We were in bondageor slaves to sin, fear and the devil.
Old age was faced with fear, and sin and suffering were all that we had
in our repertoire.
During a time that I was living in the wilderness state I had a dream
that I died and went to hell.
In my dream, hell was not so different from the world in which I was
In my dream, in hell, I was walking alongwhen I spotted some high school
friends of mine partying on the beachgranted I was in high school when
this dream occurred, and partying at the beach was our favorite thing in
the whole wide world to do.
We all seemed to be having a good time until one of my friends turned to
me with a bright smile and said, "Ken. Isnt this great? We can party
here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for ever and ever and ever."
I remember having sort of an epiphany at this momentwhen I came to a
dreadful realization of the reality we were facing
I said, "Yeah, but there is no time here. Whats the point? What is
there to party about? There is no hope, there is no loveno real love
there is no relationship with God.
Were all just a bunch of losers partying with nothing to party
In my dream, from that point on, all I wanted to do was to get out of
Its funny, but I knew what I had to do to get out. I had to say, "Jesus
Christ died for my sins."but somehowdown in hellthose were the only
words I could not get to come out of my mouth.
I remember, in my dream, coming along a family that I had known in my
previous life on earth.
The woman in the family came running up to me: "Hi Ken. So you are here
too. You missed the mark too."
missed the mark
missed the mark
it wasnt until later on in my life that I learned that the meaning of
the word "sin" is to "miss the mark."
Finally, in this dreamor shall I say nightmareI came to a point where I
was going to be forced to bow down and literally worship Satan.
I didnt want to do itand just as this incredibly evil and ugly
facedone up in incredible detail was beginning to appear before my
eyesI was able to force out the words: "Jesus Christ died for my sins."
At that I woke upfeeling as if I had literally been in hell. I couldnt
go back to sleep for the rest of the nightso I got up and wrote down my
dream in great detail.
We as human beings are created with a capacity for memory; and we are
endowed with the power of present insight
and we are created with the power to anticipate and plan for the future.
And hope is an essential element in our lives.
Without hopeeven the finest and the best things that this world has to
offer us are shrouded with a deadly decomposing futility.
Without the hope of a real future, even our most meaningful experiences