Lectionary Year A
June 23, 2002
Matthew 10:24-29

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge

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

Admirer or Follower?

      Cory was home from college for Thanksgiving weekend. It felt good to be back in the small town where he grew up. He had been a star football player there, and after being recruited by several colleges, he selected the large state university. Not only was he on the football team - even though third string - he had been rushed by one of the popular fraternities on campus, and was accepted as a pledge. Everything he might have hoped for in college life was going right.

      Almost. Cory was uneasy during the first few days home for the long weekend. His folks had no trouble detecting it, since he was usually so calm and easygoing. "Is something bothering you?" his mother asked after their Thanksgiving feast.

      "Oh, it's nothing," Cory respomded without much conviction. "It ... it ... it's really nothing."

      But his mother knew better. "Do you want to talk about it? We've always been able to talk about things that bother you. Or would you feel more comfortable talking to Pastor Swanson? You and he have always had a close relationship."

      "Yeah, I've been thinking of dropping in to see him," Cory answered, but with his mind afar off.

      Cory called his pastor, and the next day they met in his office. The usual banter lasted a few moments, then Pastor Swanson asked, "What's up, Cory? When you called it sounded like you have something serious on your mind."

      "Well, I guess it is kinda serious," Cory started. "You know that I was accepted as a pledge into the frat I never thought I'd get into."

      "Yes, your father told me you were pledged. That's quite an honor," his pastor replied.

      "Yes, but that's part of the problem," Cory said. "Recently I found out that several of my frat brothers are selling test questions. A couple of them got access to a professor's tests, and they're selling the questions to guys who aren't doing well in that subject."

      "You're certain of that?" Pastor Swanson asked.

      "I'm sure," Cory answered. "They tried to sell me the questions. I know what they're doing is wrong, and I don't feel right about covering up for them."

      The pastor changed the subject for a moment, or so it seemed. "Didn't I hear that you recently joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes?"

      "Yes," Cory replied, "and a lot of my frat brothers are members, too." He paused before saying, "I've thought of blowing the whistle on them, but if I do that, I might as well quit the frat. I'd be ostracized."

      There was a bit of silence before the pastor responded. "I suppose it's a toss-up between having that happen to you and having to livw with yourself for a long time for almost being party to a theft and cover-up. It's a tough decision."

      Cory pondered that for a moment. "I guess it's like you've noted 100 times: what's the worst that can happen to you?"

      As Cory left the office, his pastor put his arm around Cory's shoulder and said, "To put it in a biblical context, it might be a matter of whether we are admirers of Jesus or followers."

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