Lectionary Year A
July 11, 1999
Romans 8:1-11

Hermeneutical Bridge


Used by permission from Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit by Merle G. Franke.

Starting Point

      Ginger Moen and Margie Stratford grew up next door to each other as close friends. But as they reached their adult years there was an ocean of difference in their lives, a difference not only in their lifestyles but in the basic philosophy that drove their living habits.

      While they didn't live near each other in their adult years - both were married and had families - they saw each other from time to time, and on the surface it appeared they were still the sparkly and chummy friends they had always been. But their diffferences surfaced more and more in their conversations, and they both knew they were having to struggle to keep their friendship intact.

      Ginger was raised in a family that took their Christianity seriously. They were all active members of their congregation, and Ginger had started tithing even her babysitting money as a teenager. As she grew to adulthook and married, she and her husband eventually gave far more than 10 percent of their household income to the church. But she gave more than money. Ginger was actively involved in programs to help those who were in need - anyone who was not as blessed as she and her family. She and her family lived in a modest home, and they never entertained thoughts of upscaling for the sake of moving into "something better." Ginger was convinced that most people who were middle class or higher in the economic scale possessed far more than they needed for a comfortable living. She was of the opinion that was why so many people shortchanged their church and other charitable causes. People simply bought too much for themselves - much more than they needed.

      Margie was from another cut of cloth. During her growing up years she had little exposure to the church, and she was raised on a philosophy of getting ahead in the world, which was all right in itself. But it was accompanied by an additional attitude that acquiring things was of high priority: buy things, whether or not you needed them. That and being out on the town were two emphases that got much of her attention.

      The two conflicting guiding principles became more and more a subject of conversation between Ginger and Margie. "There are some great new houses in that new addition," she told Ginger one day when they had met for lunch. "You want to drive out there and take a look-see?"

      "I'll take a look," Ginger answered, "but we're comfortable where we are." They split after lunch and went their own ways.

      A month later at lunch they were in a deep discussion that dwelt inadvertently on their lifestyles. "Why don't you and I go to Vegas for a weekend?" Margie offered. "We'd get away from our husbands and kids for a break."

      "Vegas doesn't really attract me," Ginger replied, trying not to offend her long-time friend. "Besides, I'm so tied up with some of the other things I'm into ..."

      They were quiet for a few moments, no doubt both realizing that their lives were going opposite directions. "What do you and Dale do to have fun? I mean, you know, spare time stuff?" Margie asked.

      "We don't have much spare time," Ginger laughed, "as I'm sure you don't. But, we go to movies, play bridge." She paused, then added, "We spend a lot of time ... promoting, I guess, some of the causes that are important to us."

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