Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service
April 13, 2017
More than any other time of year the world pays attention to a very personal announcement from Mary when she recognized the resurrected Jesus near the empty tomb. Mary emphasizes who she saw with a one word exclamation, “Rabboni!”
This Sunday is a time many gather in church to read and think about this scriptural passage in a way that relates to Mary’s witness of belief, and find invitation for a faithful response. For example, many a pastor begins an Easter worship service with the words “He is risen!” to which the grand and gathered congregation is invited to reply with a four-word proclamation, “He is risen indeed!”
Exclamation and proclamation, although related, are two different things. Crying from belief flows from what is relational. Trying at belief flows from what is theological. In this we see how Jesus responds to Mary in a personal way, yet at the same time encouraging her to make a deliberate choice with an outward focus – to share what she had seen with others. It’s not only a message for her contemporaries. It’s also for us.
Mary’s exclamation flanked by angelic presentation, expressed belief through recognition, admiration, and punctuation, through the realization of Christ’s resurrection. Now Jesus expanded her proclamation with supportive affirmation by encouraging outward declaration that others would find introduction, inspiration, and exhortation, through the nature of spiritual invitation – leading to life of holy consecration.
Pastor Rich Wagner
This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon John 20:1-18:
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:1–18, NIV)