Meeting date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Meeting of the Parliament 20 February 2018
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Scottish Rate Resolution 2018-19, Decision Time, Tackling Fuel Poverty (Quick Credit Voucher Scheme)
- Time for Reflection
- Topical Question Time
- Scottish Rate Resolution 2018-19
- Decision Time
- Tackling Fuel Poverty (Quick Credit Voucher Scheme)
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon and welcome back. The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Mr David Campbell, church and community pastor at Maddiston Evangelical church in Falkirk.
Presiding Officer, members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today.
Recently, I was helping children at Maddiston primary school learn about their rights and responsibilities. We explored the question, “How can I be a good neighbour?” We did that by acting out Jesus’s timeless parable of the good Samaritan. One end of the classroom was Jerusalem, the other was Jericho, and the desks in between became the rocks from which robbers jumped out on the unsuspecting traveller. The children really enjoyed acting that part. A priest, and later a temple worker, were also travelling along the road that day. Surprisingly, both avoided the wounded man.
However, the story has a shock. A Samaritan—someone culturally and ethnically different from the injured man—is filled with compassion for the traveller. He stops, binds up his wounds, places him on his donkey, takes him to a place of refuge and pays for his care. It is sacrificial service in action.
Who is a neighbour to the injured man? The good Samaritan. Jesus concludes the story with words that were powerful then and now: “Go and do likewise.” It is a wonderful invitation to a life of serving others while getting our hands dirty, and it challenges our presuppositions that there are boundaries to whom we love as our neighbour.
This April marks the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of Martin Luther King Jnr. In his last ever sermon, he said:
“The first question the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But ... the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I don’t stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”
In the context of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King was encouraging support for those broken by racial discrimination. His faith reflected the servant-hearted approach of Jesus, who said that he
“came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
At the centre of the Christian faith is a God who, like the good Samaritan, sees us in our need, comes to where we are and gives up his life to forgive all our sins and heal all our wounds. As we all serve our communities across Scotland, may God help us to serve as we should, to give, and not to count the cost.