What do people do when they realize the error of their ways and want to make up for it
all? Quite often, those who have been wronged are long gone out of the scene, if not dead
or moved to another state. James suggests that reversing the current lifestyle is one way
of responding to past sins. While we are justified by faith, James also reminds us that we
are responsible for living a Christian life.
Once a young man turned away a transient while he was immature and arrogant. He
thought such homeless transients were irresponsible deadbeats. While in his middle-aged
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.