Joan Detlef slammed the screen door behind her. If the door were real glass instead of plexiglass, it would have shattered all over the front porch. Joan wished it had. She said out loud, "This time it's for good. This time I leave for good." She threw her suitcase in the back seat, slammed the big sedan into reverse, and roared away. She and Bill had stopped yelling half an hour before, but she was still fuming, raging, never so angry in her life. Never so hurt in her life. Never. Bill had retreated from their argument, and simply walked out the back door to the garden to pull weeds.
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.