“Yes”, they replied. The professor smiled, produced a second container filled with gravel and managed to shake the smaller stones into the spaces between the larger stones. A second time, he asked the students, ”Is the jar full?”

The students, a little warily, replied, “Yes.” The professor smiled, produced a jug of water and filled the jar up to the brim. “Now,” he said, “I think we can say that the jar is full. So, what does this teach us?”

“That no matter how busy your schedule is,” offered one of the students, “you can always fit something more in.”

“No”, thundered the professor. “What it shows is that if you want to get the big stones in, you have to put them in first. And what do the big stones represent? Our priorities!”

So what do priorities have to do with Easter? There are a few reasons why Jesus died on the cross and then rose again. One of them, I believe, is about priorities.

The message of the Resurrection is about hope, new beginnings, forgiveness and that all translates into relationships or people – you can’t have one without the other. Jesus gave us two very simple commandments – to love God and love our neighbour. Everything begins with God, that is the most important relationship of all. Then who is our neighbour? Simple – anyone and everyone with whom we come into contact.

My friends, without people we have nothing. Without relationships we are nothing. We are shaped, sustained, uplifted, identified by our relationships. Anything else – wealth, achievements, talent, intelligence – is meaningless without healthy and good relationships. Without relationships we are like a lake without water, a classroom without students, a stage without actors, a vase without flowers. We are empty.

So what is our priority in life? People. The impact on the world of the Resurrection of Jesus has been huge. Without the Resurrection we would not have the Christian religion, as we know it. Lying at the heart of the Christian religion is our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. One of the messages of Easter is surely this – our number one priority in life must be people. Anything else is secondary.

Rev Warner Wilder

5 April 2015