I'm sure I wasn't alone this morning in thinking, as I walked to my office, that it was good to see shops and cafes reopening now that we have reached stage two of the roadmap for lifting the Covid restrictions. There were more people about and it just felt a little more 'normal'. I understand from the statistics that the incidence of Covid is now very low in Islington and let's hope that will remain the case and that the steps out of lockdown will indeed prove to be irreversible.
The shops that are reopening today have been called 'non-essential'. I get why they are called that - they are not selling food or medicine for instance - but I suspect that some people waiting for a haircut may wish the definition of 'essential' had been a bit broader! It also occurs to me that the owners of businesses deemed to be non-essential might see things differently too. After all, if you earn your living from such a business then it is essential to you and it is sad to think that Covid will have caused many to lose their businesses and potentially their livelihoods.
It is infinitely more sad to think that for many people in the UK today, Jesus Christ is regarded as non-essential to their lives. It is plain that, for many, God is an irrelevance. Christians are people who have learned otherwise and, like shopkeepers who believe their business has been wrongly counted as 'non-essential', want everyone to realise God is relevant and Jesus Christ is essential to us all. Jesus tells us that God 'makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust' (Matthew 5:45) - it's His way of saying that God shows love even towards those who disregard Him or deny His very existence. Sunlight and water are essential to life and so Jesus is saying that God even gives and sustains the life of people who don't believe He exists, or follow other, and false, gods. Best of all, Jesus tells us that God is ready to forgive us for each and every sin, even for the sin of denying He exists, if we believe in Jesus, trusting Him for salvation. This certainly is essential business. It is a matter of life and death, and not just the physical life and death that food shops and pharmacists are there to help sustain, but spiritual and even eternal life and death.
Every Sunday, we make known the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Our website has a growing list of messages from John's Gospel, all of which concern Jesus and His significance in our lives. We invite you to come, or to listen online, to this essential message for life.