Time for Reflection

– in the Scottish Parliament on 16th May 2017.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection, for which our leader is the Rev Joan Lyon, priest at St Ninian’s Scottish Episcopal Church, Aberdeen, and Episcopal chaplain to the Aberdeen hospitals.

The Rev Joan Lyon (Priest at St Ninian’s Scottish Episcopal Church Aberdeen and Episcopal Chaplain to the Aberdeen Hospitals):

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.

One particular Easter moment stood out for me this year: the moment when a young boy of five told me earnestly that Jesus died on a hot cross bun. It is not surprising that there is a level of confusion and mystery surrounding the Easter story—that, after all, was the initial reaction of Jesus’ disciples. However, there was obviously some connection in this child’s mind between the cross that decorates the bun and the story that he had heard about Jesus earlier that day in the school assembly. What stayed in his mind was but a small snippet of a much wider and deeper narrative. Is that not so often the case?

In your experience as those who represent the people of this country and certainly in mine as an Episcopal priest, we hear many conversations and listen to many stories, and sometimes we have to move on too quickly to the next conversation or task. However, like the small boy and his hot cross bun, there is always more than meets the eye. There is always another side of the conversation—perhaps even many sides—that is often unheard and frequently ignored or discounted. We do not take time to hear the whole story, to ask the open question or to allow space for the person talking to actually hear their own story in a new way.

When we read the Gospels, we see Jesus listening in that positive way and taking time to engage with people so that each conversation makes a difference. The way of Jesus is a way of paying attention to people’s individual stories and, at the same time, helping them to be part of the wider narrative of God—that longing for all nations to actively pursue justice, mercy and equality. Every conversation counts.

In today’s time for reflection, I would like to encourage real conversations and perhaps more than four minutes’ reflection time, as, in the coming weeks, you seek to engage the nation with your story, your vision and your view of the future.

When we listen for the whole story, there is always more. There is so much more than just enjoying the taste of a good hot cross bun. The best stories, the clearest vision and the most positive view of the future arise out of good conversations and the deeper reflection that follows them.

Thank you for your attention.