Homily: Easter Day, April 5, 2015

EASTER DAY, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter  

Mary Magdalene is having her 15 minutes of fame,



I say again

Because way back in John’s gospel

she is the first Apostle,

Or one who is sent

to proclaim the good news of Christ’s rising.


Before there were male apostles

or a church hierarchy,

or tel-evangelists,

there was Mary Magdalene.


But it’s hard to miss Mary Magdalene’s recent resurgence

in the last few years.


She’s been on magazine covers,

the subject of TV specials on PBS

and last but not least,

a key protagonist   in Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.”


Mary Magdalene has sometimes been portrayed

through the years

truthfully or falsely,

as some or all of the following:

red haired,           a former call girl,

a healed demoniac,

and last but not least …..

Jesus’ “on again off again” girl friend.


If we did a Facebook Poll this morning,

I bet Mary Magdalene would come out looking a little bit

like Joan Halloway

the red haired, well built

office manager turned account executive

from AMC’s hit series “Mad Men.”


Yes, I am a fan-

And for those unfamiliar with her or the series,

I brought Saturday’s Star Tribune.

It’ll be up here on the front pew.


But it all begins here in John’s gospel,

in a quiet garden,

on a Sunday morning,

with an unexpected encounter.


So unexpected, in fact,

that Magdalene initially mistakes Jesus for the gardener.


I didn’t have time to prep my sermon enough

to get a Meditation Question in for today’s bulletin.

But the question I’d like us to consider is this:


“When did Mary Magdalene begin to understand who Jesus was?”


It happens when she begins to listen

And she hears Jesus speaks her Name.



I think John the Evangelist had this very story in mind

when he has Jesus say waaay back in chapter 10-

“My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.”


So I ask you today

When did you first hear the voice of Christ call YOUR name?

“Phillip”       “Kristine”

“Vance”     “Andrew”

“Donald       “Peter”

“Wyn”       “Maggie”



Perhaps you perked up a bit when you heard your name from my lips just now

or maybe when you didn’t hear it.


I don’t have time to name everybody this morning.

But Christ does have time.


In fact, he has called us all by name,

whether we have ever listened for that voice or not.


He has called us by name through the gift of baptism-

Christ has claimed us for God’s own child-

In a few minutes we will renew that experience.


When did Mary Magdalene begin to understand who Jesus was?

Another answer to our meditation question:

When she began to listen.


It is not finally baptism that saves us,

as wonderful a gift as that is.


We are saved by

listening, hearing, believing, living

the message that God has called us,

but not just us,



The Risen Christ calls every living Being by name,

in the garden of our individual lives.

just as the Hebrew Scriptures record

in that first Garden of Eden.


There God and then Adam named each inhabitant.


So a NEW creation begins here this morning.

in a quiet Church named after a Garden,

on a Sunday morning,

with an unexpected encounter.


When will we understand who Christ is?

When we begin to listen.