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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 16 November 2021 [Draft]

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19 Update, Scottish National Investment Bank, COP26 Outcomes, Urgent Question, Committee Announcement (COVID-19 Recovery Committee), Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, World COPD Day 2021


Time for Reflection

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. Our time for reflection leader today is the Rev Dr James Connolly, the minister of Dundee west church.

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, I thank you for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.

Presiding Officer,

“let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”,

says the writer to the Hebrews in chapter 10, verse 24.

When I was a patrol leader in the boy scouts, I had the nickname “Spoon”. It was given to me because of the folding spoon that I used to check the food that the boys cooked when at camp. I took this very seriously, shovelling in a good measure just to make sure that it was safe to eat. Most of the time it was. That spoon was helpful and ever ready. Some resented it, thinking of it as interference, others were thankful, and most accepted it as something to be done.

Later, when I came to Fife, I was informed that, “You need a lang spoon to sup with a Fifer.” I had long ago put that folding spoon away, and now it seemed that I needed a lang spoon ASAP. What did it mean? I learned that it meant that Fife people could be challenging to get to know. As a clergyman, working for 16 years in Fife, I found that they, like us, are all Jock Thomson’s bairns. The lang spoon required humility, sacrifice and, sometimes, suffering, but mainly it required Christian love reaching out with unconditional positive regard to all.

I was introduced to another Fife spoon—a spon, which is a wooden double-backed spoon. It multiplies mixing and beating while using the same effort. Neal Robertson credited it, along with good Scottish water, with helping him to win the world porridge making championship. It is the appliance of science but with good Scottish ingenuity.

Finally, there is the metal pudding spoon. Noah, my six-year-old grandson, believes that it is magic. One side shows him his reflection the right way up while the other displays it upside down. When things seem upside down, we need to learn to turn the right way up.

The writer to the Hebrews, when using the word “stir”, is thinking in terms of “agitation” or even “irritation”. In truth, when looked at the right way around, that spurs us on to something good. I trust that we will continue to learn how best to

“stir up one another to love and good works”

and that we are ever ready to check and keep all safe, so that they may advance with care, knowing that Jock Thomson’s bairns are precious and to be cared for throughout life.