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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 07 February 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Point of Order, Topical Question Time, Points of Order, Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50), Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill, Decision Time, Blackhillock to Kintore Transmission Line


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. Our first item of business is time for reflection, and our leader today is the Rev Jack Graham, who is the minister of Parkhead Congregational church in Glasgow.

The Rev Jack Graham (Parkhead Congregational Church, Glasgow)

Looking for a solution to his loneliness, a man decided to buy a talking budgie—as you do. He was persuaded to buy the best cage that he could from the shop and, cage in hand, he took the bird home. At the end of the week, he returned to the shop to complain that the bird had not spoken. The shopkeeper suggested that perhaps the bird needed some kind of stimulation, and that maybe running up and down a wee ladder would be the solution. The man returned home with a new ladder for the bird’s cage.

At the end of another week, the man came back to the shop with the same complaint: no words from the budgie. This time, a mirror was suggested, purchased and taken home. The scenario happened again in the following two weeks, with a bell and a swing being purchased.

In the fifth week the man entered the shop and declared that the bird had died. The stunned shopkeeper asked if any words had been spoken before its demise, and the man replied that the bird had indeed spoken—“Did you ever think of buying seed?”

The bird had everything to make its cage the envy of other birds, but it did not have what it needed to keep it alive. St Paul gives the same message in his letter to the Corinthian church:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

This building is an amazing structure, and this chamber is a place where, I am sure, eloquent and intelligent debate takes place, but none of those things counts for anything without love. The life of this Parliament, it seems to me, does not depend on the quality of the building or the clever use of facts and economics, although I am quite sure that they are tremendous assets. The life of this Parliament depends on you, its members, having a heart for people, a compassion for those in need and a desire to serve and strive for a fairer and just society. Without that, even the most eloquent and knowledgeable words count for nothing.

May you be inspired in this coming week to serve as your heart guides you.