"The world breaks everyone," wrote Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell To Arms,
"and afterward many are strong at the broken places." The letter to the Hebrews tells of
someone whom the world broke. His name is Jesus Christ.
We are not alone in this universe, after all. Someone else, the very Son of God, has
broken down the doors of this human life of ours, and taken it by storm. This one has
interceded himself between us and the dread ogre we most fear -- death itself -- and he
has triumphed. As John Calvin teaches, "... in permitting himself to be overcome of
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.