Christians live between the time of the Lord's resurrection and his anticipated return to the earth. Their business is "to proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" in their worship and in their daily living for the Lord. Put another way, Christians are expected to live out their baptism in gratitude for the mercies they have received in Jesus Christ and the love of God. Worship is the celebration of hope, the affirmation of faith in the risen Lord and the anticipation of life in the age to come. It has a "because he lives, we shall also live" dimension to it.
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.