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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meeting of the Parliament 01 November 2016

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, UK Referendum on EU Membership: Justice and Security, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Cub Scouts 100th Anniversary


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. Our first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is the Rev Dr Jaco Boonzaaier, who is the minister of Broxburn parish church.

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to be with you.

Today is All Saints’ day, also known as All Hallows’ day, which follows on from All Hallows’ eve, or—as we more commonly know it—Hallowe’en. In several Christian communities, today marks the day when we reflect on the lives of the saints past and present. This time for reflection among Christians dates back to the 4th century AD. In fact, even earlier, we find a reference in the New Testament that says that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses encouraging us, according to Hebrews 12, to lay aside every obstacle to allow us to run the race of life with endurance and purpose. To that end, readers are reminded of the life of the historical Jesus. Through his life, death and resurrection, he demonstrated unconditional love and unrestricted acceptance of all people.

On 30 November, we shall celebrate St Andrew’s day here in Scotland as well as in many other countries worldwide. It will be an opportunity to remember the life of the apostle Andrew, who it is generally accepted was the first follower of Jesus. Through his life, Andrew demonstrated humility and service. Andrew is regarded as the first follower of John the Baptist and the first disciple of Jesus. According to scripture, he witnessed to his brother Peter and led him to Jesus. Andrew was the person who brought the boy with the fish and bread to Jesus before the feeding of the thousands.

After Jesus’ ascension, Andrew continued to serve him with humility and dedication, being a missionary to areas in modern-day Turkey, Greece, Hungary and Russia, and as far as Poland. Until the end of his life, Andrew never wavered in his commitment to his master and to serve those where he ministered.

Today marks an opportunity to reflect on the saints and on our calling to be saints in the communities where we live. Whether we identify with a historical root for being saintly or not, we have the opportunity to serve with humility and dedication. We have the opportunity to speak out for the voiceless, empower the powerless and provide shelter to the homeless, or simply just to donate a food parcel at one of the many food banks nationally.

May we, on 1 November, reflect on the plight of the deprived as we consider our countless opportunities to be saints to those who need our help in our society.