Lectionary Year A
June 30, 2002
Romans 6:12-23

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge

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


      Gardner was six years older than his brother Will. But much more than six years separated the two brothers. Gardner had matured early and had been settled as an adult for what seemed like several years, although he was only 23. Will was another story. One could speculate whether or not he would ever mature. And Gardner was often exasperated by Will's advenurous, and sometimes dangerous, escapades.

      Gardner was not married, and lived in his own apartment not too far from his parents' home, where Will still lived - when he chose to be at home. And although Will knew his brother would lecture him on his lifestyle, Will often went to Gardner's apartment to shoot the breeze, or sometimes to tell him about his latest adventure.

      His latest was snorting cocaine. "Oh, I'm just doing it with a couple of friends," he protested to Gardner. "It isn't going to hurt anything!"

      "You know very well that's what everyone says when they start with dangerous drugs. There isn't an addict in this country who thought the drug he was doing would harm him. What makes you think you're different from the street addicts?"

      "Oh, come off it, big brother. You've read too many scary stories about drugs." Will's weak response didn't score any points with his brother.

      Gardner charged on, "Can you give me one good reason why you're doing drugs? You were raised in a good home - you didn't have poverty or oppression tearing you down - not that that's a good reason for doing drugs either..."

      "I'm into it because it gives me a lift. That's it. This is a crappy world in which we have to live, and once in a while I want to get above all this... " Will didn't finish his sentence before Gardner cut in.

      "Just hold it for a minute," Gardner interrupted. "I live in this same world and I don't have the slightest inclination to do drugs in order to 'get above all this' as you say. If you ask me, you're lowering yourself below all this..."

      It was Will's turn to interrupt. "So you think I'm a street addict?"

      "That's not what I said, nor what I think. But I do think you're not going to be able to be in control. No one who does drugs stays in control. No one. You're no different from anyone else in that respect, and you're fooling yourself to think that you can control a drug habit."

      Will replied weakly, "Yeah, well, maybe it won't be a habit with me..."

      "Oh, right!" Gardner was quick to reply. He was staring out the window at nothing in particular. "You start messing with a hard drug like coke and it will soon become a habit. And it will control you. It will be the boss, not you."

      But while Gardner was talking, Will quietly slipped out of the apartment. From the street below he waved goodbye to Gardner who was still standing by the window. "I wonder if I got through to him," he thought to himself. "I wonder if anyone will get through to him..."

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