Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

March 29, 2018

I then think about any contemporary conversation I might have, and how someone would similarly speak my name, as Jesus did with Mary in the garden.  Unlike Mary however, I imagine my name being spoken by someone I know, or at least, think I know, and have initially recognized.  With friendliness, I imagine how I might feign surprise as the other person shares what’s new in world events, but it’s often the case where I too, have already heard the news, given the wired, constantly connected nature of things.  In this, small talk, based upon frequent experience, describing, and sharing in issues as any situation might imply, no matter how dramatically expressed, seems ordinary.

Still, has my capacity for surprise been exhausted?  For example, maybe I don’t know the person I’m talking with as well as I think I do, or whether that person truly knows me.  “Are they harboring some deep secret that I know nothing about?” Humm.  Very likely could be.  After all, are we not well attuned to ferreting out conspiracy, nefarious intent?  It’s human nature, after all.  But the surprise at Easter is not that Mary finds something that reinforces the negative… rather positive.

Although her tears were real, emotionally, dramatically expressed,

and it also appears like this moment could be primarily processed

as a simple, understandable, engaging, ordinary conversation,

isn’t there something promising, reassuring, found in this brief interaction?


To recognize a new outlook, plan of action

…like a guidebook of eternal satisfaction,

a deep mystery concealed,

was uncovered and revealed.

It dawned with Mary’s name being spoken, said.

The secret is…

Jesus risen from the dead.


Rev. Richard Wagnetr

Dear friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Sermon 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)

In preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I approach this biblical encounter focusing upon Mary in the garden and her encounter with the resurrected Jesus.  For me, I read this passage as a familiar scene.  Questioning him, she initially does not recognize who he is.  During this interchange, Jesus speaks her name…

I think, “These passages are well trod.”  It leads me to wonder if they’ve become too comfortable – speaking to my age.  Am I less inclined to be surprised about anything?