After the US-lead invasion of Iraq, thousands of doctors fled that country due to killings and kidnapping of doctors. It is estimated that over 600 medical personnel, including over 130 doctors, had been killed since 2003. The health-care system was left in ruin, with only 16,000 workers in a system requiring up to 100,000 workers. But as security is slowly improving, doctors are beginning to return from exile. By August of 2008, it was estimated that of the 8,000 doctors who fled, about 650 had returned with more returning each month. That certainly is good news.
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.