That’s not all folks, says God of resurrection
Norwich Minister Matt Stone considers how the empty tomb on Easter Sunday contradicts the catchphrase ‘That’s all folks’, giving death and life new meaning through physical and spiritual resurrection.
For many years, the name Mel Blanc has been associated with Warner Brothers Looney Tunes. At the end of every cartoon, you’d see Bugs Bunny pop up and say ‘That’s all folks!’ – and that was the voice of Mel Blanc.
When he died in 1989, Mel Blanc’s family put an inscription on his tombstone: ‘That’s all, folks!’ The question is: Is it true? Is death the full stop at the end of the sentence of life? Is that all, folks? Or is death a comma, a doorway to the next part of God’s eternal plan? The answer from the empty tomb on Easter Sunday rings loud and clear: ‘no, that’s not all, folks!’
However, Easter is not just about physical resurrection. ‘Eternal life’ is so much more than just living forever. Many people worry about their physical wellbeing and future far more than they worry about their spiritual wellbeing and future.
The great Methodist preacher William Sangster had his ministry, except prayer, painfully cut short by a disease which progressively paralyzed his body, even his vocal chords. But on the last Easter Sunday he spent on earth, still able to move his fingers, he painstakingly wrote a note to his daughter: ‘How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice to shout, ’He is risen!’ Far worse to have a voice and not want to shout.’
Easter is not just about the hope of living forever, as wonderful as that is. It’s about living for, with and in God – starting today and flowing into eternity. It’s about spiritual resurrection! Jesus said to his disciples after his death and resurrection, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20:21-22).
Do you need a spiritual resurrection this Easter? Has worship become a routine, prayer a shopping list, church a frustration?
Do you need a fresh dose of God’s love, joy, hope and Spirit? If so, the good news is that God offers us the greatest gift he could give us: the gift of himself.
Jesus said, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.’ (John 7:37-39).
Matt Stone is a Minister in the Norwich Area group of United Reformed Churches.
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