What is the most important thing that you have learned in recent years? What is your top priority for today? What are your priorities for the months ahead?
For some their priority might be a Coffee in Costa; to book a holiday; to meet with friends and loved ones again; to meet as Church again; to be able to hug; to get a job; to watch live sport; to go shopping; to get that hospital treatment; for Schools and Colleges to reopen; – I’m sure you can add many more.
This week much has been reported about those who are facing financial ruin because of the issue of cladding on the buildings where they live – that’s their priority. For the Government, its priority is to try and steer our way out of this Pandemic – their priority is to vaccinate as many of us as possible in order that life can return to some sort of normality.
Past, present and future, we all need to sort out our priorities, to know what is really important at any given time.
Priorities were something Jesus knew all about in his single-minded seeking of God’s kingdom and fulfilling His Father’s will. Jesus’ followers were challenged to sort out their priorities in the light of his death and resurrection, a reality that turned their world’s upside down!
For I handed on to you as of ‘first importance’ what I in turn had received; that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised to life on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures
Paul makes it very clear that Christ’s death and resurrection are fundamental to our faith; to remove these and the ‘Good News’ ceases to be good or newsworthy!
In today’s world, we are bombarded by so many messages – whether on social media, the internet, through junk mail, TV and Radio and so on, and as a result it’s easy to be taken in by cheap promises and fake news – but the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus isn’t fake news, nor does the Christian life offer empty and hollow promises. Paul knew this message made sense because of his own experience – he had a life-changing encounter with the wounded, risen glorious Christ, which resulted in him knowing that he was totally forgiven, saved by Christ’s death on the cross, and called to follow and proclaim Jesus as His Lord and Saviour.
I was in a work meeting last week and it seemed we were going ‘round the houses’ – so I asked if we could concentrate simply on what was our priorities for the here and now. For what happens in the future we can but hope, but we live in the ‘here and now’, and the message of the Cross is appropriate for any situation, time and occasion. As we, this week, begin the season of Lent, and as we reflect and look forward to Easter, may the message of the Cross always be of ‘first importance’!