Meeting date: Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 10 May 2022 [Draft]
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Scottish Government’s International Work, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Women in Business
- Time for Reflection
- Topical Question Time
- Scottish Government’s International Work
- Business Motion
- Parliamentary Bureau Motion
- Decision Time
- Women in Business
Time for Reflection
The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Alan Kimmitt, who is the minister of St Columba’s parish church in Glenrothes.
Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the privilege of addressing you this afternoon.
When Jenny Gilruth first asked whether she could put my name forward to deliver a time for reflection address, I replied that it would be a privilege, which it is. I add it to my list of privileges as a white, heterosexual, middle class, comparatively affluent, educated and reasonably articulate male minister of the kirk.
The same day that she asked, I sat with a family preparing for a funeral, and I listened as they shared their bereavement story. At the end, I said, as I often do:
“It has been a privilege to share a bit of your journey.”
It is a privilege to address members this afternoon, but it is not as much of a privilege as it is to be allowed to journey with people, especially at difficult times.
I presume that members of this Parliament will have taken a keen interest in the council elections last week, campaigning and supporting friends, colleagues or perhaps even family members. Perhaps there were moments when you reflected on what first drew you into politics. I doubt that it was the undemanding working schedule or the stress-free lifestyle; it was probably more to do with people, stories, things that you had witnessed and the sense that you might be able to make a difference.
One of our local councillors described her feelings at watching votes being counted, including those with her name on them. She said it was “humbling”.
As a minister, I have the privilege to listen to the stories of others and I know that you share that privilege. I admit that I cry at the “Toy Story” films but, apart from that, I usually only feel emotional after people allow me into their lives. We do not have to have lost a child or suffered abuse or be living with cancer to listen to and accompany people.
As a Christian, I often look to the life of Jesus. In addition to the stories in the gospels, he must have had thousands of conversations with all sorts of people. Several times in the Bible, we read that Jesus went away to a lonely place, where he prayed. I find that an incredibly helpful example.
Prayer might not be your thing, but I hope that we might all find some time this week to reflect on the very real privilege of caring for, serving and sharing the journeys of others.