"I tell you, those disciples had it made! I sure wish that I had been alive in those days. They had it easy. It could not have been very hard for them to believe in Jesus and in God. They had it made! They had Jesus with them all of the time. It is harder for us, because we do not have Jesus; he is with the Father. Consequently, we have to believe in him; faith is all we've got. But the disciples had him present with them. What a gyp! It really is difficult being a Christian when all you have going for you is faith. If only we had known Jesus like those disciples did.
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.