Time for Reflection

– in the Scottish Parliament at 9:30 am on 26 March 2003.

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Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament 9:30, 26 March 2003

This is the last time for reflection of this parliamentary session. Members will agree that time for reflection has been one of our many successful innovations. Indeed, some texts have been quoted in proceedings and in the press or have been broadcast. You might like to know that a book of the collected time for reflection texts will probably be published during dissolution.

Members are always invited to suggest people to lead time for reflection, and many have put forward their own parish priests or ministers. On this final occasion, I thought that I would take that privilege and invite my own parish minister, the Rev Samuel Široký, minister in the parish of Ettrick and Yarrow. He is from the Czech Republic, and was only inducted into the parish and ordained by the Church of Scotland a few weeks ago.

The Rev Samuel Široký (Minister of Ettrick and Yarrow Parish):

The Greek philosopher Democritus said something like: "A life without celebrations is like a long road without pubs". The Christian tradition offers the people of today—people who are forced to work long hours, people who have problems, tired people, people like you and me, a unique gift: the time of celebration at Easter.

When I recently asked in one of my schools why we have Easter, one boy replied, "We have Easter because chocolate was invented on that day." I think that the failure of today's society to enjoy the true meaning of the Easter celebration partly explains the moral struggle that many people go through and says a lot about the church's inability to communicate the good news. We have all experienced to some extent the first part of Easter—the cross—of which the war is the clearest example. However, what is often missing in our lives is the second part of Easter—the resurrection—which represents the joy of seeing new hope where there was none and of looking on every day as a chance for something incredible, unbelievable and joyful to happen.

Three friends die in a car crash and go to an orientation meeting in heaven. During the meeting, they are asked, "When you are in your coffin and your friends and family are mourning you, what would you like to hear them say about you?"

The first man says, "I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time and a great family man." The second says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and schoolteacher who made a huge difference to the children of tomorrow." The last replies, "I would like to hear them say, 'Look! He's moving!'" Just as the replies of the first two friends were irrelevant, for too many of us Easter is a nice celebration, but is not really relevant. Although it would be nice to hear good things said about you, it would not matter much when you were dead. The true meaning of Easter is much more clearly expressed in the reply of the third friend: "Look! He's moving!" Such a reaction would be helpful and relevant in his situation.

Easter is about believing that everything that is broken and dead—whether people or things, individuals or whole nations—can be renewed and renewed now. Through Jesus's first resurrection, the whole stream of resurrections comes into our world and we can all serve to help make them happen.

Easter offers a precious gift to us all; it offers a real and relevant joy that things not yet dreamed of can and will happen—and that includes the completion of the new Parliament building. Furthermore, it offers us the joy that the often gloomy reality of everyday life will be overruled by a much bigger and better reality.

I wish you all a very good break.