First Lesson Sermons For Sundays After Pentecost (Middle Third) Cycle C
"Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom. Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah" (1:10; cf. Genesis 19).
Sodom. Gomorrah. Remember? Places of wickedness, of violence, of perversity. Do you know any place like that? Places where sexuality is twisted and relationships are corrupted and social order is breaking down? Places where people seek to gratify personal desires at the expense of others, where individual pursuits take precedence over common well-being, where anything goes as long as it feels good?
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.