The novel The Ugly American is based upon facts of how Americans related to people in Southeast Asia. The insensitivity and arrogance of American government officials was generally depressing. One chapter of the novel, however, is particularly inspiring. An American woman, Emma Atkins, has come with her engineer husband to the fictional nation of Sarkhan. Emma is a curious, good-hearted person and she soon notices that in their small village all the older people are permanently bent over.
“And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” (v. 52b)
Good morning whoever is out there.
I hope you boys and girls are here this morning. Since I can't see you, let me know if you are actually present. (have the children touch and/or speak and/or sing) (Humor works, like have the children repeat something silly like, “Good morning fantastic, awesome, most highest lord pastor/teacher”)
I remember going to a Lent group years ago, where the priest gave all us lay folk a piece of paper and a pen and asked us to write down what we knew about Jesus. He didn't want us to write down what we'd been told about Jesus or read about Jesus, but simply what we knew for ourselves from our own experience.
I ended up with a blank sheet of paper, but one person wrote, "I know that Jesus saves me." That led onto an interesting discussion along the lines of: saves you from something? Or for something?