Harriet had a persistent cough that would not go away. For several months, she tried
everything, from over-the-counter medicines to prescription drugs. Nothing seemed to
work. Her family doctor sent her to a specialist at a university hospital some seventy
miles from home. The specialist examined her and ordered additional tests. Harriet went
home with strict orders not to speak, not to say a word, for six weeks. At the end of six
weeks, the doctor would reexamine her.
Harriet took the doctor's orders to heart, but quickly found it difficult to communicate
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.