Olav recalls the time over fifty years ago when he first accepted Jesus as his Lord and
Savior. At the time, Estonia was under the domination of the Soviet Union. For that
reason he claims that it was dangerous to be a confessing Christian. People feared being
arrested in their homes and sent to Siberia.
He was invited to a prayer meeting where over 100 people had gathered. At the end of the
service the pastor asked if there was anyone who wanted to commit to following Jesus.
"After a brief inner struggle," Olav reflects, "I decided to open my heart and ask Christ
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.