The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. (vv. 11--12)
In Daily Guideposts, 2000, Edward Grinnan recalls the lesson of service and humility that he learned from his mother. The family had an inexpensive set of steak knives when Edward was a child. The handles were made of plastic that was formed to look like wood. One steak knife in the set had a warped handle. The plastic had had a less than pleasant experience with the heating element in the family's dishwasher.
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.