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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 29 September 2020

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motions, Scottish Budget Update, Topical Question Time, Complaints against MSPs (Committee Bill Proposal), Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill, Sentencing Bill, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Mossmorran (Just Transition)


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon, colleagues. We start this afternoon’s business with time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Dr Nanda Groenewald who is the Minister of Polbeth Harwood with West Kirk of Calder.

The Rev Dr Nanda Groenewald (Polbeth Harwood with West Kirk of Calder)

Presiding Officer and members of Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

If I have to choose one word to describe what the year 2020 has been like so far, “impossible” comes to mind. Because of Covid-19, we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation. This is something that nobody saw coming, and which nobody probably even thought possible. As a Parliament, you are leading us—the Scottish people—through it and keeping us safe. That cannot be easy.

Today, I would like to share a very simple Old Testament analogy with you, to encourage you during this complicated time. Deuteronomy, chapter 32, verse 11 reads:

“Like an eagle teaching its young to fly, catching them safely on its spreading wings, the?Lord?kept Israel from falling.”

Although I am fortunate enough to call Scotland my home, you might have guessed by my accent that I grew up in South Africa, a place where the wonders of nature never ceased to amaze me.

Look at the eagle, for example. Did you know that eagles build their nests high up in the mountains, and that when a mother eagle wants to teach her eaglets to fly she unceremoniously kicks them out of the nest? As they start falling to ground, they learn to flap their wings. That might sound almost heartless, but it is not, because the minute she kicks the eaglets out of the nest, she flies out too. She hovers alongside them, keeps a close eye on them and ensures that they are coping. If one of them gets into trouble, she can fly in underneath it, catch it on her outstretched wings and take her young one back to the safety of the nest.

In a way, that is how I believe God takes care of us, too. If we find ourselves in a situation in which we feel as if we are falling to the ground in unfamiliar territory, feeling uncertain and scared even, we tend to focus so much on everything that we have to cope with that we can sometimes feel completely alone. However, we never are because God is with us. He is hovering there alongside us and keeping us safe.

Our situation at the moment might be almost impossible to deal with, but please remember the words of Nelson Mandela, who said:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

We will get through this, because we are not alone.

May God bless you all.