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July 19th has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’. The day when the government has said that all restrictions such as social distancing and masks can be dispensed with.

However with freedom also comes responsibility. Our personal freedom should not cause harm to other people. Theologian William Barclay said in one of his books “Christian freedom does not mean being free to do as we like; it means being free to do as we ought.” Which makes us look at freedom a little differently

I am delighted that we will be able to meet up for social gatherings, to sing together, to meet friends for tea and cake and at long last can receive a hug from a friend. However let’s remember that there are many people in our communities who are concerned about this total relaxation - maybe because of their age, maybe because of illness, maybe because they have simply lost confidence.

In his first letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul tells Christians that freedom in Christ is a serious responsibility. We can eat what we want, spend our time as we please, and embark upon activities we enjoy. But as believers, we are inseparably joined to Christ’s Church and each other. We can’t live therefore as though we are the only one on an island.

For other people’s peace of mind (and health), we need to exercise our new found freedoms cautiously. If people don’t want physical contact we need respect that, and if they feel uncomfortable with us in their house without a mask, for their sake we should continue to wear them.

Our personal freedom should not mean others feeling the need to isolate again.

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