for use with Common, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Lectionaries
Comments on the Lessons
The Zechariah reading is an answer to an inquiry about fasting. Verses 9-10 contain the essence of prophetic moral teaching. The 1 Chronicles passage is David's prayer of farewell composed by the Chronicler, but with a hint of a blissful after-life. The 2 Maccabees reading tells of the martyrdom of a mother and seven sons. In the reading from 2 Thessalonians we have thanksgiving, exhortation, and closing appeals of the letter. The Lucan passage deals with questions about the resurrection, in which Jesus declares that God is the God of the living.
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.