I'd rather hear Saint Matthew talk about Christ the King. His story of the Last Judgment is vivid. Concrete acts are laid out. "As you have done to the least of these," Jesus says, "you have done to me." We may disagree or cringe, but we can picture this King claiming kinship with the lowly.
Luke's story is good, too. Jesus hangs between two criminals and promises to one that "today you will be with me in Paradise." We see a dying King offering kingly gifts to the dying who trust in him. We may be puzzled, we may object, but again, we can picture it.
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.