Miracle narratives from the Revised Common Lectionary with a fresh look at the other side of the story
Blind Bartimaeus was rewarded for faith and persistence, and was given sight to follow the Christ in discipleship; while we still puzzle why some are healed and others not. We also learn God would not have us suffer on purpose.
His condition was a wretched one. Father Timaeus would have to lead him out to the dusty, hot roadside of Jericho so he could spend his days howling for charity to those who passed by on their way to Jerusalem. The response was often hateful.
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.