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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 22 May 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Police Call Handling, One Minute’s Silence, Police Call Handling, Disability Employment Gap, Presiding Officer’s Ruling, Decision Time, Restorative Justice


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. Our first item of business today is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Neil MacMillan, who is minister of Cornerstone free church in Morningside, Edinburgh.

The Rev Neil MacMillan (Cornerstone Free Church, Morningside, Edinburgh)

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, it is great to have the opportunity to speak here this afternoon. I want to say thank you to you and to everybody who works here, because public service is too often undervalued. Public servants know what it is to endure verbal kickings and online bashings, but we all know that a healthy democracy needs people like you, who give their time, their talents and their wisdom to pursue and champion the common good. From myself, my Morningside congregation and the Free Church of Scotland, I say thank you for all that you do, because what you do is of the greatest worth.

The life of a Christian minister and that of a politician actually have many things in common: being available to other people at any time of the day or night; numerous public speaking engagements; helping people to navigate their problems; partnering with others to bring benefit to the community; and a to-do list that you never, ever get to the end of. Such busyness can become a crushing weight. We often feel a great deal of pressure in our working lives, and our personal and family life can be stretched in so many different directions by the demands that are placed on us.

As well as saying thank you for what you do on behalf of others, I urge you to keep moving in the right direction. A verse in the Bible says:

“Do not become weary in doing good”.

One way that the Bible teaches us to keep going is to surround ourselves with good friends. We all need the joy, laughter, realism and affection of friendship. Jesus shows us what the gift of friendship looks like—in him, there is truth and love, toughness and tenderness, joy and tears, conviction and compassion.

Recently, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine said that, although she had colleagues and acquaintances, she had not had a proper friend for about 15 years. The best way to find good friends is by being a good friend. We are called to love others well. A Dutch priest called Henri Nouwen said:

“Telling someone ‘I love you’ in whatever way is always delivering good news. Nobody will respond by saying, ‘Well, I knew that already.’ Words of love and affirmation are like bread. We need them each day, over and over. They keep us alive inside.”

As we build friendships with others and love them well, my privilege as a Christian minister is to say to people, “You are loved, for God is love,” and that, as we receive his love through Jesus, it frees us to love others well. Thank you.