THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – Freedom 5th July
In this last week or so we’ve either heard announcements of, or experienced, the lifting of restrictions in our lives, imposed due to Covid-19 (unless you live in Leicester). Some are going back to work, shops are beginning to open, there’s a slight easing of restriction in social practices. For many this will bring a sense of cautious optimism, a hope of returning to some kind of normality – albeit a new normality, the opportunity, soon, to hug our families and friends. But the feelings won’t be the same for everyone.
There will be people, as always, who will be on the extremes, Those who will start to treat these announcements as a reason to celebrate and party in a manner totally contrary to any distancing advice given, acting many would say, selfishly and irresponsibly, potentially putting themselves and others at risk. At the other end of the scale there will be those who will be filled with fear and anxiety, who may even retreat further into isolation for fear of coming into contact with the party goers and catching the virus. And of course many degrees between the two.
I’m no expert, I’m certainly not in a position to say just how the lifting of restrictions will pan out, and perhaps this is not the place for me to deliberate on the subject. But one thing I am sure of is this, with new found freedoms comes responsibility. I don’t want to be a kill joy or stop people celebrating – I cherish the opportunity to party with family and friends just as much as the next person – but we are all responsible for the consequences of our actions.
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians wrote, for me, some of the wisest words on the subject of freedom. As with many wise words they include words quoted by Jesus. Here Paul is talking about the Galatians new found freedom in Christ, but as with so much biblical teaching, it applies to all of life.
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5: 13-15. N.R.S.V.)
A stark warning I know, but one I feel is so relevant for today.
So please, be filled with cautious optimism, embrace, cherish and enjoy opportunities to be together where possible, and please, continue to stay safe and well.
But in addition, be certain in hope, the hope that God will see us through this, we will be together again, we will embrace we will give thanks and we will celebrate!
As we approach a new chapter
In these unprecedented times,
Help us to approach them with optimism and hope.
Help us to think and act with
Wisdom, patience, understanding and love
For each other and all those around us.
Be with those for whom these times
Continue to create fear and anxiety in their hearts,
Comfort them, give them strength and hope.
And lead us we pray, to a time of freedom,
A selfless freedom that is for all,
A freedom born out of Your love
For all Your creation.
We ask these things in Jesus name.