Inclusive Membership, Prophetic Vision, And The American Church
Every year during Black History Month, Stroupe gives a series of sermons on the struggle of African-Americans for justice and equality from the days of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement. While these sermons tell the stories of particular lives that have burned brightly as witnesses for justice in this struggle, many of the lives lifted up are often unfamiliar to many at Oakhurst, and to Americans in general, white or black. As an integrated congregation, Oakhurst's own story has been significantly marked by both the story of race in America and the biblical story.
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.