A Sermon by Doctor S, submitted for consideration in the first round of
the second annual BWA-Ivory Tower Sermon Competition, in memory of
his service on the judges panel when he was sorely disappointed in the
entries submitted for his topic Fire and Brimstone.
"The angels shall cast them into a blazing furnace. In that place there
will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." -- Matthew 13:42
Remember with me, if you will, the longest sermon you have ever sat through on a
beautiful Sunday morning in the fall. Recall the feel of the hard pew bruising your
rear, the preacher's monotone drawl droning in your ear. Your eyes, glazed over with
boredom, stare at the stained glass windows, as you imagine the glorious day with its
falling leaves and scampering squirrels lying just beyond the thin, opaque pane, so
near, yet hopelessly beyond reach, beyond even sight.
In your imagination, hear your watch ticking so slow, you can distinctly discern the very
beginning, duration and end of each beat, as though each lasted minutes rather than a
moment, as though the second hand could take hours to make a full cycle. The sermon
seems interminable, as though by some accident of physics, a veritable homiletic black
hole has arisen from the pulpit, taking forever to do its work, and offering no possibility
Seems pretty bad, doesn't it? It doesn't exactly sound like the best way to spend a
Sunday morning. But what if I told you there are souls who would beg for such an
opportunity? They are indeed out there! Or...should I say...in there...
IN THE LAKE OF FIRE! THE SULFURIC PIT OF UNFATHOMABLE DEPTH WHERE THE
HOMOSEXUAL GOES TO CAVORT AS HE ROTS TO PIECES, WHERE THE UNBELIEVER
ROASTS LIKE A SACRIFICIAL SWINE ON A SPIT, AND EVEN THE COMMON SINNER
MUST TREAD MOLTEN BRIMSTONE UNTIL HIS LIMBS GROW SO WEARY THAT SATAN
HIMSELF MUST GRAB HIM BY THE HAIRS ON HIS HEAD, KNOWN IN NUMBER ONLY
TO GOD IN HEAVEN, AND LIFT HIM TEMPORARILY FROM THE SEA OF AGONY, HIS FEET
DANGLING ABOVE THE SURFACE UNTIL HIS BODY RECOVERS, ONLY TO BE CAST BACK IN!
Harken back to that sermon that you were remembering with such disdain. Reflect on
your greed as you give a prayer of thanks that you were born a God-fearing Christian....
Oh, how lucky you should be to have a seat on a hard pew! Would you rather be treading lava?
How blessed are you that the sermon only seems long, and that eventually you will be
free to go and enjoy the full glory of God's creation. Would you rather be stuck listening
to -- even seeing! -- rampant acts of devilish faggotry going on all around you, FOREVER?!
How fortunate that you are not a Muslim. Heaven is separated from Hades by something
much greater than a pane of glass, greater even than the seas separating Mecca from
the New World, our Manifest Destiny.
That something is called "eternity."
With your memories so engaged, remember this for the next time you are sitting
in a boring sermon wishing you were somewhere else: ultimately the only somewhere else
to be is "in there."