Meeting date: Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2020
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motions, Topical Question Time, Urgent Question, Empty Homes, Committee Announcement (Ferry Vessels in Scotland), Decision Time, Levern Valley Defibrillator Community Partnership
- Time for Reflection
- Business Motions
- Topical Question Time
- Urgent Question
- Empty Homes
- Committee Announcement (Ferry Vessels in Scotland)
- Decision Time
- Levern Valley Defibrillator Community Partnership
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon and welcome back. We start, as we often do on a Tuesday, with time for reflection, for which our leader is the Rev Sarah Nicol, minister of St Cuthbert’s church in Saltcoats.
Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you.
Yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany, a day when Christians remember the visit of wise men to the Christ child in Bethlehem. Although nativity plays and paintings often portray the wise men as being present with the shepherds on the night of Jesus’s birth, it is quite likely that their journey from wherever their homelands were took some time. Based on Herod’s slaughter of boys under the age of two in that town, scholars have suggested that their arrival may have taken up to two years after they first spotted the new star in the sky.
Epiphany has inspired many with its wonderful message of the love of God being revealed widely to people from every corner of the world. God does not restrict his love to the people of one nation or ancestry, for he is a God who includes everyone in his embrace—although, of course, we are free to accept or reject his love.
While Christmas shows us the long journey that God is willing to make to reveal his love for us, leaving the wonder of heaven for the down-to-earth life of a child sleeping in a manger in an animal shelter in a crowded town in a troubled land, Epiphany goes on to show us that even our shorter journeys, from where we are now to where God wants us to be, need great commitment and perseverance from ourselves.
Where does God want us to be? He wants us to be in a place where every child is valued and cared for as God’s gift to us. We have some distance still to travel, haven’t we?
God’s far-reaching love and the journeys that we need to undertake to respond to and share his love are something to remember at a time when many people are seeking refuge in lands such as our own. Epiphany challenges us to recognise the value of the journeys that those people have made, and to consider how in our land they may experience something of the all-embracing love of God, which has been such an important part of the faith and heritage of our land and our people.
There is a hymn that we sing that could be adapted for use across our land:
“Let us build a land where love can dwell, and all can safely live”
“all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”