Meeting date: Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Meeting of the Parliament 18 April 2017
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Preventative Health Agenda, Business Motion, Decision Time, Addaction
- Time for Reflection
- Topical Question Time
- Preventative Health Agenda
- Business Motion
- Decision Time
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon. The first item of business this afternoon is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is the Very Reverend Andrew Swift DL, dean of Argyll and the Isles, rector of Holy Trinity, Dunoon and rector of St Paul’s, Rothesay.
Presiding Officer, members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the invitation to speak to you today, as you come back to work after your Easter recess.
The Scottish Episcopal Church and most of the churches in Scotland have just celebrated holy week and Easter, remembering a story that takes us into the black depths of despair with Jesus’ death on Good Friday and up to the indescribable joys of the empty tomb on that Easter morning. Today, two days later, we are all, I am sure, joined as we contemplate that most important of things—not snap general elections, but chocolate.
I was in a local primary school, over on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll, talking to the children about Lent, holy week and Easter, and chocolate had more than a little to do with their excitement at the celebrations to come. What did they tell me about? Chocolate eggs, which remind us of the stone that rolled away from the tomb’s door; and chocolate bunnies, which are a sign of new life and new beginnings—for the sake of the primary 1s, we did not discuss exactly why bunnies are a seen as a sign of new life. In fact, any kind of chocolate, which many people give up for Lent, is a delicious and welcome part of the new beginnings that we celebrate this week. As a cleric, I have noticed that chocolate can have the strange side-effect of shrinking one’s cassock, but chocolate remains pretty central to the celebrations that we have been holding. However, we came through that harrowing holy week—through betrayal, torture and death—to let us come, blinking, out into the new light of Easter day and the rewards of the chocolate offerings placed before us.
As Christians, we believe that God’s love is shown through Easter. The new beginning that churches celebrate is a new beginning where every single human being is of infinite value and worthy of respect, love and the chance to flourish.
Those values are the values that I see all around us in Scotland. We are a nation of people who, whether with faith or not, are willing to see the humanity in all, to work towards a common good, to protect the weak and to welcome the refugee and vulnerable migrant.
So, may you start your sitting with my blessings and my good wishes, and I thank you for all that you do as our representatives and our Government.