Aesop tells the story about a baby crab and his mother. A mother crab and her son went scurrying over the sand. The mother chastised her child, "Stop walking sideways! It's much more becoming to stroll straightforward!" And the young crab replied, "I will, Mother dear, just as soon as I see how. Show me the straight way and I'll walk in it behind you." How often have those of us in the preaching or teaching professions blithely handed out moral advice to others? How often have we failed to live up to our honey-tongued admonishments to classroom or congregation?
I am so happy to see you this morning. How are you? (children may respond)
Let's play a game I call “Lost and Found.” Okay? (children respond)
(presenter role plays) Uh, oh, I lost something for today's message. Hmm, I wonder where it could be. It's a box like this. (shows approximate dimensions) (instruct the children to look around the immediate area) (then presenter or child finds it)
Since the Fourth Sunday in Lent has been historically identified as Laetare (Rejoicing Sunday), it is most appropriate that the lessons collectively testify to a theme for which we can rejoice — God saves us by his grace!
In this familiar and well-loved story of the Prodigal Son, I often wonder what happened to the mother of the family. She's totally ignored. So are any daughters. It seems like a completely male stronghold. So much so that I wonder whether perhaps the mother had died some years previously, and that was the cause of much of the unhappiness displayed by both the father and the sons. Or whether the father was such a domineering character that his wife played no real part in family life, but simply bowed her head in compliance with all his wishes, no matter how extreme they were.