Meeting of the Parliament
Meeting date: Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Official Report 1040KB pdf
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Retail and Town Centres, Urgent Question, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, LGBT+ History Month
- Time for Reflection
- Topical Question Time
- Retail and Town Centres
- Urgent Question
- Business Motion
- Parliamentary Bureau Motion
- Decision Time
- LGBT+ History Month
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection, and our leader today is the Rev Mike Gargave, minister, Thornliebank parish church.
Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I am the Church of Scotland minister of Thornliebank parish church in south-west Glasgow. I am grateful to Jackson Carlaw for nominating me to deliver this time for reflection. I just wish that my granny was here to see me, although I am sure that if she was, she would be unbearable. [Laughter.]
I have thought about what I want to say today, and I would like to express my admiration for you. I have a great respect for what you do and your commitment to the people whom you serve. There are times when I, as a parish minister, can find the role challenging, especially when people have expectations of me that are based on their idea of what a minister should be—most people have such expectations. You, too, in your service, will have to live with the expectations of your constituents and of the nation, and each person will have different expectations. The criticism that you receive is at times appalling and mostly unfair, and people tend to forget that you entered politics not for anything that you get, but to serve, and that is admirable.
It is easy to criticise. I believe that we should stop and remember that there is always more that unites us than divides us. Although we may have different opinions of political parties, football teams, religion and questions relating to other issues, we are all people, sharing our community together.
In the New Testament of the Bible, Galatians 3:28 tells us:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one”,
and the verse ends
“in Christ Jesus.”
If you are a Christian, the “in Christ Jesus” is relevant, but if you are of another faith, or even of none, the short verse still makes its point: we are all one, and although we have our differences, surely we can live and work together as one.
We are living through ever-changing times. As I get older, I find myself occasionally questioning the values of these days; then again, I question some of the values of my youth. I recognise that we live in better times, with more understanding and more grace towards each other.
Regardless of how we react to the changing values of our times, I hope that we can still find within us respect for and acceptance of the other. Through accepting and respecting the difference of others, we learn and grow together, and consequently become better people. Through accepting and learning from others, we develop characteristics that benefit our society and our communities.
I want to end with another short Bible passage, from Matthew 25:40.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these sisters and brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
I pray that folk learn to be kinder and more respectful and accepting of others, especially the least of us. I also pray for each one of you here in this chamber: that you remain strong as you continue to go through changes and serve our nation.
Thank you for your time.