A Journey Through the Psalms: Reflections for Worried Hearts and Troubled Times
Preaching the Psalms Cycles A, B, C
There is a well-worn axiom that warns against mixing religion and politics. It was probably devised in an attempt to help smooth the rough places in some of those long holiday dinners with seldom-seen relatives. Keep the conversation polite, vague, and unchallenging. That way, all parties can stay through the dessert course and get home in one piece. In truth, there is wisdom in such an unwritten law. However, a serious people of faith must contend with the time after dinner when the relatives have dispersed and it's back to business as usual.
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.