Meeting date: Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2020
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Business Motion, Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Decision Time
- Time for Reflection
- Business Motion
- Topical Question Time
- Business Motion
- Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3
- Decision Time
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon. Our first item of business today is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Fraser Donaldson of Hope community church in Greenock.
Presiding Officer and members of Parliament, it is a massive privilege to share with you during time for reflection today.
Scripture’s greatest command is to love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself. Loving God and loving your neighbour go hand in hand. In fact, the scripture would suggest that loving God requires loving your neighbour. But what does that mean?
Jesus was asked that question, and he answered it by teaching the parable of the Good Samaritan. In that parable, Jesus teaches us that loving your neighbour means pushing past your differences to value the individual. That is an important and relevant message for us today, because we live in a very diverse culture here, in Scotland. Every person is unique, every person is individual and every person is different. We champion the ideal of living in an all-inclusive society—and so we should—where every opinion, every belief and every persuasion is valued. However, it is becoming the norm—sadly, it is becoming the experience of many churches and Christians—that any difference of opinion or belief that may somehow, in some way, to somebody, somewhere, be deemed offensive should not be respected and valued but should be shut down and censored.
Don’t get me wrong—I do not agree with hate speech in any form, but neither do I agree with discrimination that is dressed up as equality and that fails to recognise difference and value the individual. Instead, I agree with Jesus. Jesus valued every individual. He broke the social norms by spending time with the marginalised and by welcoming those that other people rejected. He challenged the status quo and the culture of the day, and he ruffled a few feathers in the process, but in everything he did, he served the needs of people, regardless of whether they looked like him, sounded like him or believed the same as him. He loved people, and he loved people by healing the sick, setting people free and releasing peace and hope into life after life. He broke down barriers with a heart that valued the individual and, at the same time, welcomed all within an experience of God.
All are welcome in the heart of God. All are welcome to experience the hope, peace and life that he brings. The belief of Christianity is that such hope, peace and life are found in Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to forgive us our mistakes, and he rose again to bring us into an experience of God’s reality and the hope, love and peace that are uniquely found in him.
Today, all over our nation of Scotland, Jesus is still loving people. He is still demonstrating his love, for he is still healing the sick, setting people free, transforming lives and bringing individuals from all different walks, backgrounds and cultures into an experience of his reality.
May members of Parliament make our nation of Scotland a place where every individual is valued and free to experience the life-changing truth of Jesus Christ: that all are welcome in the heart of God and all can experience his hope, his peace and his love. As you serve our nation, I encourage you to open up your heart and experience the reality and the presence of Jesus, because, if you do, I promise that you will not regret it. God bless you and thank you for listening.