Meeting of the Parliament [Draft]
Meeting date: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Drug Law Reform, Decision Time, Council Tax (Consultation)
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection, and our time for reflection leader today is the Rev Eder Ferraz Goncalves, pastor, Perth Baptist church.
Good afternoon, Presiding Officer and members of Parliament. It is a pleasure to be here and to be able to serve the nation in this way.
My family and I came from Brazil to Scotland in 2008. From the beginning, we felt welcomed and embraced by its people. Throughout the years, we have learned to love this land and to cherish its people, but also how to complain about the weather as if we were born here.
The most incredible thing about Scotland is not its rich history or its wild landscape, and obviously not its climate, but, I believe, God’s love for this nation and the potential of its people. It is through and with people, not just policies, that lives are connected, creativity is released and communities are formed.
As a follower of Jesus, I believe that his life, death and resurrection make a way for individual and community transformation. I dare say that there are many misconceptions about what Christ stands against, but one should pay careful attention to what his life and message stand for.
During a time of widespread discouragement, when people were not sure which way to go, Jesus said, “I am the Way.” His way models a life of transformative relationships, transcendent purpose, relatable values and relational faith.
During a time of cultural confusion, when people did not know what to believe or whom to trust, Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” His truth models integrity, simplicity, inner peace and freedom. Truth in Christ is not a mere concept to be explored but a person to be encountered.
During a time of economic inequality, when people did not have equal opportunity or hope of change, Jesus said, “I am the Life.” His life models compassion, generosity, selfless love and sacrificial living. The life of Christ redeems the past, restores the present and reassures us that there is a life worth living.
During a time of widespread hopelessness, Christ brought hope and achieved his goals not by merely speaking about them, but by taking up his cross and sacrificially giving himself for every human soul: those he loved and represented, and even those who persecuted him; the rich and the poor; the weak and the powerful; the locals and the foreigners.
The Way, the Truth and the Life of Christ enrich dialogues, rebuild trust, transform communities, encourage creativity and call Scotland and its people to be all that they can be.
Ultimately, Christ’s life, death and resurrection compel us to surrender our ego, change our ways, take up our daily cross and live out our lives not for ourselves only, but in the service of others.