Time for Reflection

– in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 5th September 2007.

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Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None 2:30 pm, 5th September 2007

Good afternoon. I welcome members back after the summer recess—it is nice to be back.

The first item of business is time for reflection. Our leader for today is the Rev James McNaughtan from St Marnock's parish church in Kilmarnock.

The Rev James McNaughtan (St Marnock's Parish Church, Kilmarnock):

If you have a car that will not start, you might call out the AA, the RAC or one of the other breakdown services, but if you are not a member of one of those organisations, you might call a garage and pay a mechanic to get you going, but if you are my son, you do not do any of those sensible things: you just call your dad instead. So, at 1 o'clock one morning, I got a call to say that he had broken down and that the car just would not start. I shook myself awake and quickly got dressed. I looked out a torch, a tow rope and jump leads and went to the rescue. It turned out to be a flat battery—he had left his lights on, or so he thought. So at half past 1 in the morning in the centre of Kilmarnock, I gave him a lesson on how to bump start a car that has a flat battery—he did the pushing and I did the steering. Anyway, we got it going and I followed him home and got back to my bed.

That set me thinking that, for all the complexities of a modern car, it takes only one piece of equipment to fail and the whole thing will just not work. You can have the latest state-of-the-art onboard electronics and sensors that put your lights on or operate the wipers when it rains, but all are no good if you do not have a battery that works.

St Paul recognised the importance of each part working together in the body of Christ—we are all joined together as different parts of one body, he wrote. He saw that we are dependent on each other—each of us with different gifts and different jobs to do. He also recognised that we are a great strength to each other. That is true not just for the church, but for society as a whole. It is true that we rely on each other, that we need each other and that we are a strength and support for each other. Surely that is what it means to live in community.

May God bless your work here, that it might nurture, encourage and strengthen our communities right across this land.