Meeting date: Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 02 June 2020
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Resuming National Health Services , Economic Recovery, Point of Order, Decision Time
- Time for Reflection
- Topical Question Time
- Resuming National Health Services
- Economic Recovery
- Point of Order
- Decision Time
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon, colleagues. Before we begin, I remind members, as always, to observe social distancing rules when entering and leaving the chamber and throughout the Holyrood building.
The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Keith Mack, the minister at St John’s & King’s Park church, Dalkeith, who joins us via videolink.
It is nice to be back again. This weekend, the church celebrated Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and empowered the followers of Jesus to go and preach the good news. That is when the church began, nearly 2,000 years ago.
The church has gone through much in that time—highs and lows—but the church as I have seen and experienced it is very much alive today.
Jesus promised that he would leave a comforter for his followers, the Holy Spirit—a comforter for the afflicted who afflicts the comfortable also; the spirit who challenges and consoles, and calls the church and us all to action.
I read a book called, “The Boys In The Boat: An Epic Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin”, which is a tale about a team from America who beat all the favoured rowing teams at the 1936 Olympics. Daniel James Brown, the author, writes:
“think of a well-rowed race as a symphony, and each rower as one player in the orchestra. If one fellow in an orchestra was playing out of tune, or playing at a different tempo, the whole piece would be ruined. That’s the way it was with rowing. What mattered more than how hard a man rowed was how everything he did in the boat harmonized with what the other fellows were doing. And a man couldn’t harmonize with his crew mates unless he opened his heart to them. He had to care about his crew. It wasn’t just the rowing but his crew mates that he had to give himself up to, even if it meant getting his feelings hurt.”
It is interesting that each rower had not only to match his technical skill or strength with the other rowers, but to trust and care for the others on his team—and the gateway for that was humility.
In many ways, it is the same in a life of the church and for our society: for the spirit to unite us, we have to lay down our stuff; we have to trust each other and care for one another, especially at a time such as this.
The church is alive today. In Dalkeith, where I am from, and across Scotland, we are seeing, with the help of others, the church feed and care for those in need, connect the isolated and help make people’s day. It is only through the power of the spirit that that happens. The church cannot survive without the comforter of the afflicted, but we need, as church and society, to be ready to be jarred out of our comfort, to hear his voice and work with compassion for those who are afflicted today, wherever and whoever they may be.
I thank the Rev Keith Mack for that, and for agreeing to come back for a second time.