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ELCA Blogs

Faith Lens

March 10-16, 2010

Contributed by Joycelyn Breeland, Fairfax, VA.




Warm-up Question

How much do the adults in your life trust you?

I Spy


The FBI is investigating the claim of 16-year-old Blake Robbins that his high school illegally spied on him using the webcam in his school-issued computer.

Robbins says his school’s assistant principal accused him of selling drugs and popping pills in his bedroom. He says she backed up the accusation with a photograph taken by the laptop’s built-in webcam.  Blake denies dealing or using illicit drugs.  He says the images show him eating candy. 

The Lower Merion School District issued laptop computers, equipped with webcams, to all of the approximately 2,300 high school students in the district.  School officials deny any wrong doing.  They say they are not spying on students and only activate the webcams to help locate missing laptops.


Discussion Questions

  • Is it OK for the school district to use webcams to locate school property?
  • Why would it be a problem for the school to activate the webcams on laptops they own?
  • Does it matter how the school got the evidence if Robbins was engaged in illegal activity?


Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, March 14, 2010 (Fourth Sunday in Lent)

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Joshua 5:9-12

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Gospel Reflection

Today’s Gospel is a well-known story. The generous father reminds us that God’s love is extravagant to the point of seeming  reckless.  We go astray.  But no matter how far we go, how unworthy our behavior, God longs to welcome us back into the fold. 

The waiting father models how we are called to behave toward each other.  We pray, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” but our forgiveness is often grudging.  In contrast, the father clearly yearns to welcome his son back home.  He sees the boy while he is far away and runs to him.  The son can not even get out his well-rehearsed apology before the party is on.  Following the father’s example, we strive to forgive absolutely, rejoicing at the restoration of a relationship with someone who has wronged us. 

Sometimes we are like the younger son, striking out on our own, overly confident in our abilities.  We forget how much we need the father.  This inevitably leads to trouble.  When that happens, we, like the prodigal, need to remember that our father is merciful and compassionate.  No matter how far we go down destructive paths, we can find our way home.  Mistakes are painful and costly.  Our poor decisions cause a lot of suffering. The certainty of God’s care is no excuse for failing to weigh our choices carefully.  Still, when we find ourselves staring at a dead end, Jesus reminds us that the long journey we begin with repentance in the pig sty ends with a welcome, a ring, and a fatted calf.

Discussion Questions

  • If the father in the story represents God, what is the inheritance we might each expect? 
  • The family in today’s Gospel is clearly wealthy.  What could have motivated the son to leave this comfort in the first place? 
  • Verse 17 says the younger son came to his senses.  What does this mean?  Has this happened to you? 
  • Can you identify with the older son’s reaction in verses 28 ­– 30? 
  • What does the father’s answer to his older son say to us about God’s love?

 Activity Suggestion

Design a t-shirt which communicates your understanding of this week’s lesson.  Think beyond simply picturing a scene from the biblical story.  Use words and graphics which would grab the attention of folks in your school.

Closing Prayer

Loving and forgiving Father God, we thank you for the rich inheritance you offer each of us.  Help us not to squander your gifts, remembering that all we have and are comes from you.  Call to us when we stray and bring us quickly back to our senses.  In the name of Jesus, whose sacrifice has secured for us eternal life and a home with you, Amen.