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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, National Health Service Financial Overview, Digital Inclusion, Decision Time, Export of Live Animals for Slaughtering and Fattening


Contents


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Pastor Michael Veitch, who is from Wooler evangelical church in Northumberland, and is a former East Lothian councillor.

Pastor Michael Veitch (Wooler Evangelical Church, Northumberland)

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, it is a great honour to stand before you today. When I stood down from politics at last year’s council elections to begin life in my ministry, it would be fair to say that I thought that I had forfeited any opportunity of ever appearing in the Official Report at Holyrood, so I suppose that my presence here in some way demonstrates that God moves in mysterious ways.

In June, I visited an old congregational chapel in Norwich. Pinned to its door were the following words:

“This chapel is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sick souls”.

Sadly, the church is very often perceived as being the place for people who have their lives sorted out or—even worse—for people who think that they are in some way morally superior to everybody else.

In reality, Jesus had very little time for religious hypocrites. He said:

“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance”—

in other words, only people who know that their lives are a mess and who realise that they need a saviour and that they need Jesus. For such as them did Jesus die, so that they may be reconciled with God by faith in him.

None of us would care much for a medic who offered us only vague solutions. As politicians, you are in the business of promoting tangible solutions to the nation’s problems each and every day. Likewise, Jesus Christ came into the world to offer truth.

Alongside having my ministry in Northumberland, I continue to study theology here in Edinburgh. This year, we have been looking at the wonderful old document “The Scots Confession” of 1560, which was written by John Knox and others. On the title page of that work, we find these words:

“Exhibited to the Estates of Scotland in Parliament in August 1560 and approved by their public vote as doctrine founded upon the infallible Word of God”.

In other words, the Scottish reformation was built on the belief that the Bible is the revealed word of God, and that what it teaches about Jesus, God and humanity is true.

So, as a former politician turned pastor, and as a Scot—albeit one who is currently exiled 14 miles across the border—I wish you well in your endeavours to serve the people of this great country. The Bible teaches that those in authority have been appointed by God, so may he be your guide this day and in the weeks and years ahead.

Thank you very much.