Excerpt and Word Count
Here's an excerpt from the sermon near the beginning. As you probably know, Moby Dick starts with a sermon on the book of Jonah. Here we are near the end of a sermon the Raising of Lazarus.
“But there’s that other, final piece to this story, my friends. God loving us isn’t quite enough. We have to believe, or it does nothing. That’s really the point: all this, this stuff we see around us – it’s so that we might believe. It’s not just that God loves us no matter what: we have to accept the love no matter what. If we say, ‘No, I want my brother back now!’ if we say, ‘No, you got to show me you love me in this way!’ then we don’t believe and God’s glory can’t be shown and we’re in the darkness like Lazarus in the cave, or we’re weeping like his sisters, blinded by our rage and sorrow. I’m as bad as all of you when it comes to demanding God’s love in a certain way: I’ve been alone for years now, all of my family and most of my friends gone. I killed people, same as the rest of you did.” Again the forefinger and gaze, though much softer this time. “Killed people on the steps to this old church, I did. All that wickedness, all that blood and death – and all the little bright spots in between, and all the darkness all around it,” he accompanied this with frantic, almost pained gestures, poking at the air in front of himself like he was picking specks off a piece of laundry hanging on a line, and then sweeping both hands in circular motions on either side of his head, “– all of it was for God’s glory, if I’d only see it that way and stop making it into my own pain, my own pleasure, my own loss. And that’s why it ends the way it does, ‘And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ Hands – bound; feet – bound; face – bound.” He held his wrists together, as though they were tied together, and looked imploringly to the ceiling. At the beginning of the sermon, Ridley might’ve still been able to look at such a display with irony or detachment. Now – not at all. Instead, he could almost feel ropes cutting into the skin of his hands, smell the dank and must of the grave, feel his breath catch in his chest.