The recent arrest of a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case has reignited a media frenzy -- one which recalls the worst excesses from a decade ago when the media was rife with speculation about every aspect of the case. (Some of the cable news channels even featured live coverage of the flight returning alleged killer John Karr to the U.S.) Though DNA evidence has now cast doubt on Karr's "confession" and charges have been dropped, the media attention devoted to the ongoing saga has brought disturbing and personally sensitive material into the public eye.
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.