Inclusive Membership, Prophetic Vision, And The American Church
In this series on Romans, Stroupe re-examines the nature of the Christian life in the context of Paul's language of flesh and spirit. In reflecting upon Paul's distinctive use of these terms, Stroupe offers a corrective to what, for many, is the familiar Christian vision of both the predicament of sin and the liberation from that predicament made possible by Jesus Christ. Stroupe's corrective proves to be more robust on both counts. The life of the Spirit described here entails a radical re-orientation of our whole being to the new reality of freedom in Jesus Christ.
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.