Lectionary Year A
July 25, 1999
Romans 13:31-33, 44-52

Hermeneutical Bridge

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

Seed Money

      Joseph Henderson and his wife had retired to Arizona several years ago. Now after his wife died, Joseph decided to visit the midwestern, rural area where they had grown up. His son and family lived near that area and he was staying with them for a few days. On a Saturday afternoon Joseph asked his grandson Will, a sophomore in high school, if he wanted to accompany him for a ride in the country.

      As the two of them rode along, Joseph pointed out some of the landmarks he remembered from having lived there many years before. "They still have some gravel roads in these parts," Joseph noted as the car raised a continuous cloud of dust. Suddenly, almost as if by surprise, they came across an old country church, long since abandoned.

      "Well, I'll be ..." Joseph said as he stopped the car. "That's the church where I used to attend Sunday school as a kid! Let's see if it's open so we can look around." It was open, and as they walked through the silent building, memories flooded back to Joseph. "I was baptized right at that baptismal font," he said to Will. "And I'm sure I marched up this aisle a few times in our Christmas pageant dressed as one of the kings." He chuckled as he recalled that pleasant memory.

      "Why did they stop using the church?" Will wanted to know.

      "Oh, this has happened to lots of rural churches," Joseph began. "Farmers moved into town, and those that didn't often preferred to attend worship in town. So there are empty church buildings like this in many parts of our country."

      "Is it just going to sit here and deteriorate?" Will asked.

      "You know, that gives me an idea," Joseph said with sudden enthusiasm. "Come on; let's go back to town!"

      "What are you going to do, Grandpa?" Will asked.

      "I want to go see the pastor of the church they built to replace this old building." He paused before going on. "You know, I think that old church could be restored and become kind of a reminder of the old days when we drove horse and buggy many miles to get to church."

      "Do you think anyone will be interested in doing that?" Will was full of questions.

      "That's what we're going to find out," Joseph responded. "Sometimes when someone comes up with an idea, it catches on. And besides I intend to start the ball rolling with a cash gift for the project - that is, if the pastor thinks if might be a good idea."

      They drove along in silence for a few moments. Then Will said tentatively, "Grandpa, if would take major league money to restore that building ..."

      "You're probably thinking I can't give very much for it, and that's true, but a little bit can grow into a large amount." He was searching for the right words to explain it. "It's called seed money. You plant this idea and a little bit of seed money - well, you'd be surprised how big it will grow."

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