Gospel Sermons For Sundays After Pentecost (First Third)
The church, that is, the ekklesia, the called out ones, has taken some hard knocks both from its friends within and its foes without, from chilly indifference inside and arrogant cynicism outside. All kinds of people have condemned it for its navel-gazing, and its lack of concern for the world. Some years ago in Russia, two meetings took place simultaneously. In one, a group of Marxists discussed how they could overturn the world. In the other, which took place only a few doors away, a group of Christians fervently debated the color of their church's choir robes.
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.