One of the better programs on television from 2003 to 2005 was a series on CBS called Joan of Arcadia. Like many thoughtful shows, this one did not score high enough to stay on the air for long, but it did last two seasons.
The title alludes to Joan of Arc, the fifteenth-century teenager who believed she heard the voice of God urging her to save France from England during the Hundred Years War. That Joan led an army into battle, successfully forcing the British to retreat from Orleans. Later, captured by the British, she was tried for heresy and burned at the stake.
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.