Time for Reflection

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 26th April 2000.

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Ian Baillie (Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen):

Good afternoon.

Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord and his wonderful deeds in the deep, for he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths. In their peril their courage melted away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper and the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm and he guided them to their desired haven.

Jesus calmed the storm when he was in the boat with the fishermen. We have the guidance of the Parliament in our country's calm times and its restless times. In our times of trouble and distress we all look for a safe haven, which we might find in our particular faith, in our family or in some special part of Scotland. From Mallaig to Scrabster; in Stornoway and Lerwick on the islands; and from Aberdeen to Eyemouth, the fishermen's mission offers such a haven in its centres and through its network of staff across the country.

The fishermen's mission has been caring for fishermen and their families and communities for more than a century. It gives financial, practical and spiritual help to shipwrecked, sick, distressed, disabled, retired and sea-going fishermen and to their wives, widows and children, irrespective of their creed or race.

In the first month of the new millennium, nine men were killed, nine vessels lost and 56 men rescued. Fishing is our most dangerous industry and has been a major source of employment in Scotland for many years. As a representative of the mission and of our country's fishermen I am honoured to share these thoughts with the Parliament. Let us pray.

The Lord is my pilot; I shall not drift

He lights me across the dark waters;

He steers me in deep channels,

He keeps my log;

He guides me by the star of holiness

For his name's sake.

Even though I sail 'mid the thunders and tempests of life,

I will dread no danger; for You are near me;

Your love and your care they shelter me;

You prepare a harbour before me in the homeland of eternity:

You anoint the waves with oil so my ship rides calmly.

Surely sunlight and starlight will favour me on the voyage I take;

And I will rest in the port of my God forever.