Time for Reflection

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 22 March 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick None

Good morning. The first item of business this morning is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is the Rev Fraser Donaldson of Greenock Elim church.

The Rev Fraser Donaldson (Greenock Elim Church):

Good morning. It is a tremendous privilege to be able to share with you today during time for reflection and, in particular, to be able to share during Easter week.

Easter is the greatest celebration of the Christian faith. In fact, all that Christians believe, live and worship is rooted in the cross of Jesus and his empty tomb. The cross, of course, speaks to us of forgiveness and the empty tomb speaks to us of life. It is the belief of every Christian that forgiveness is found in Jesus and that we can live in a very real, very personal and life-changing relationship with God as a result.

In the time and culture in which we live, there are, however, voices and opinions that seek to suggest that Christianity, the church and the message of Jesus are out of date, irrelevant and incompatible with society. Such opinions are framed as being rooted in a heart for equality and acceptance for all, but the truth is that the Christian faith is rooted and anchored in the exact same convictions. It is our belief that every person, regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, belief and personal journey, is equally loved by the God who created the heavens and the earth and that all are welcome to discover, explore and experience a life-changing relationship with Jesus.

The moment that the Christian message ceases to be relevant in culture and society is the moment that the experience of that message ceases to impact and transform people’s lives and, therefore, stops being true. That means that there will never be a moment when the church and its message will be out of date or irrelevant, because Jesus Christ has been changing and transforming lives in this nation for over 2,000 years and he will continue to do so throughout the passage of time.

Of course, life and culture within a nation change and evolve with the differing challenges that each generation faces but, despite that, the message of Jesus never changes—it is timeless. The cross and the empty grave still speak to us today the same life-changing truth that they did 2,000 years ago: God loves, God forgives and God changes lives because God is real. The evidence of his reality is seen in towns, cities, villages and communities up and down this nation where the timeless, limitless love of God is pushing through the issues of life and culture and is breaking through the differing challenges of generations to transform life after life after life.

May God’s reality and love transform the lives of those who serve in this Parliament in the same way as he is transforming the many lives of those whom this Parliament serves. This Easter, may you discover for yourselves the life-changing message that the cross and the empty grave communicate: God loves, God forgives and God changes lives because God is real and is at work in the nation of Scotland. God bless you and yours this Easter. Thank you for listening.