Janet`s August 2021 Letter to the Community

Freedom!  As I write, we are approaching 19th July when many of the Covid restrictions will be lifted.  People are referring to “Freedom Day” - and demonstrating a range of reactions.  On the one hand there is great excitement at the prospect of resuming activity that has been banned or reduced for the last 16 months.  On the other hand there is considerable anxiety at the possible consequences of more, and less ordered, social contact.  Perhaps one of the most difficult issues is that individuals will have more freedom to choose.


How do we use our freedom?  The wearing of face coverings is a case in point.  It will no longer be obligatory in most places – though it will remain on London Transport – but is simply recommended, leaving each person free to choose.  So what are we choosing?  Only the highest grade hospital masks fully protect the wearer.  The others, along with those fabric masks we have bought or made, have some effect in protecting ourselves, but much more protection for those we come into contact with, by limiting aerosol spread of potentially infectious particles as we speak, sneeze or cough.  We choose to take an action which has some benefit to ourselves, but is much more about protection of others, especially those who are vulnerable.


St Paul tackles the question of how to use freedom in his first letter to the young church in Corinth.  The context is too complex to describe in detail here, but has to do with Jewish and Greek traditions coming into conflict, and the implications for the followers of Jesus who were trying to find a new way of expressing the life they were called to enjoy.  St Paul says, in effect, “if my actions cause someone else to make a wrong decision, even if my action is right, I will refrain from that action so as not to lead another person into trouble”. 


It’s a high standard.  Freedom is not absolute and it has consequences.  As we begin to adapt to a world where there are more choices, let’s be aware of the effect of our choices on others and act as compassionately as we can.




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