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Language: English / Gàidhlig

Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Good afternoon. I remind members of the Covid-related measures that are in place, and that face coverings should be worn when moving around the chamber and across the Holyrood campus.

The first item of business is time for reflection, for which our leader today is the Rev Raheel Arif, who is minister at Denny old parish church and Haggs parish church in Falkirk.

The Rev Raheel Arif (Denny Old Parish Church and Haggs Parish Church)

On compassion:

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

Folks, compassion literally means “to feel with”. In the verse that I just read, we see that Jesus felt compassion for people because he had felt what they were feeling. Compassion for people is the most important thing that we can say about Jesus and about God, and it was one of the reasons why people followed him. In that compassion, he healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons.

Friends, today we live in a world that is full of fear and war. We are afraid of coronavirus. We are afraid for our economy. News coverage from around the world suggests that we are afraid of climate crisis, job losses, high energy bills, failing healthcare systems, disease, forest fires, drought, drugs and immigration. The list goes on.

In this time of fear, the Parliament and we, the church, are called to imitate our Lord and to find ways to break the cycle of fear and violence with words and acts of hope and assurance, and with words and acts of compassion and healing. Now, that is a mighty tall order, is it not? What can a Government or a little church do? What can a parliamentarian or a Christian do? In the face of all this hurt and pain, who am I?

Those must have been the sorts of questions that an Albanian nun, Mother Theresa, asked herself over 50 years ago when she found herself in Calcutta. She decided to do what Jesus did. She had compassion for the ones who were right in front of her. She dealt with the need that she was given, and did what she could.

Today, I would like to say to you, and to folks in church, that we are called to have compassion, teach compassion and live compassion.

God has called you to serve the people in Scotland. Today, I assure you that God is with you. Just do your best and leave the outcome in God’s hands. The better way to serve the people is to follow Jesus’ example and have compassion. I believe that when you look at people with compassion, you will be successful and will be able to take this country out of the pandemic and all other problems.

May God bless you all with compassionate hearts. Amen.