After Margaret Mead, the world-renowned anthropologist, gave a presentation at a university, she hosted a time of questions and dialogue. One student asked her what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in any given culture.
This student, like most in the gathering, was expecting Ms. Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones. Her answer surprised them all. She said that the first sign of civilization was represented, in her mind, by a healed femur. The femur is the human thighbone. At the look of uncertain stares, Ms. Mead went on to explain.
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.