A powerful movie came out in 1993 titled A River Runs Through It, based on a
novel by Norman Maclean. It's the story of a strict Presbyterian minister in Montana and
his relationship with his two sons. Early in the movie there's a scene where the father
takes his two young sons to their favorite river to fish. One of the boys finds a fossil and
brings it to his dad. The father says, "Boys, this river flows through the land over the
rocks to the sea. The rocks are half a billion years old, and show the marks of raindrops
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.