If you were hungry and needed food, would you call the wealthiest or the poorest person
in town? I don't know how many well-to-do people there were in Sidon's suburbs during
Elijah's time, but there was at least one hungry widow. She was close to starving and
intended to fix her, and her son's, last meal. Famine had depleted the area's food supply.
The widow was gathering wood to heat one last meal expecting that she and her son
would shortly die.
Then came the hungry prophet Elijah asking for bread. Sounds just like a preacher,
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.