Election 2021

The Scottish Parliament is in recess ahead of the election on 6 May.

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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)16 February 2021

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Point of Order, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Budget Update, Adult Social Care (Independent Review), Decision Time


Contents


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon, colleagues. As usual on a Tuesday, we begin with time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Father Michael Kane, from St Augustine’s church in Coatbridge.

Father Michael Kane (St Augustine’s RC Church, Coatbridge)

Presiding Officer and members of Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I am very conscious that I do so on Shrove Tuesday, the day before we begin our annual Lenten journey towards Easter. In the tradition of this day, I hope that you will be able to enjoy some pancakes later on.

For Christians, of course, tomorrow begins a time of profound spiritual importance. Sadly, this Ash Wednesday, we are unable to gather in our churches to mark the beginning of that journey. At least for the moment, our homes will be our domestic churches. From there, we will wear our ashes as an outward sign of the inward conversion that we hope to begin.

For the next 40 days or so, the lives of Christians around the world and here in Scotland will be marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We do those things because we recognise that we are imperfect and have so much growing still to do. Lent urges us to uproot ourselves and move nearer to God and one another, and to heed with urgency the Lord’s command to love. Lent calls us to embrace new priorities, offer small sacrifices and rededicate our lives in the service of others. My own prayer is that we can all try to unify under that very noble ambition: for each of us to grow in love and become, day by day, a better version of ourselves in the sight of Almighty God.

Here in our community, like in so many other places, the call to loving service has already taken root in many hearts, and it has brought welcome light and grace to this very challenging time. At my parish, St Augustine’s in Coatbridge, we established a new project called stay connected way back in March last year to reach out in practical ways to those who were lonely, isolated or struggling through the pandemic. It very quickly became a lifeline for the elderly, who appreciated a friendly voice at the other end of a phone, and for families who were struggling with essential food supplies. Since then, our parish food bank, which is called the people’s pantry, and the stay connected project have delivered more than a million free items of food and essentials—a concrete example of love in action.

Perhaps Lent could be a time that challenges all of us to do more, to give more, to be more for others and to help to build a culture of hope, friendship and solidarity in our communities. May Lent give us eyes to see the poor and hungry and the lonely and struggling in our midst, and to offer them our love and support.

Thank you for listening.