Time for Reflection

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th February 2021.

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The Rev Keith Blackwood (Mannofield Church, Aberdeen):

One year on from hearing of coronavirus, discussing the probability of it coming here and planning a defence against it, and after 12 months of head-on daily entanglement with it, it is inevitable that, as human beings, leaders and politicians, we find ourselves fatigued and fragile. That is what living daily with the anxiety that coronavirus causes does.

Today, I would like to say thank you to all of you. In the past year, many have been thanked for their care of others. By the nature of your position—through decision making, policy shaping and purposeful debate, and in your representation of the whole population—you carry necessary responsibility. Thank you for what you have done and for what you are doing.

The responsibility that we carry in life has a profound influence on us in many ways. It determines the focus of our work and drives us in our use of available time, opportunities and skills. Our success in carrying it is intrinsically linked to our state of mind and our emotional and mental wellbeing. We cannot deny that carrying responsibility has an impact on us, and it is there wherever we turn—we cannot hide from it.

For some professions and vocations, such responsibility is the mortar that holds together the different parts of the job. There is responsibility for the welfare of others, society, the world and the planet—big concerns with expansive remits. However, whatever job or role we take on, the responsibility for doing it appropriately and well is inherent.

As a father, mother, son, daughter, sibling, husband, friend, minister or parliamentarian, we are defined in our role or vocation by the responsibility that we are given. In fact, that is surely one of the key elements that define us as human beings—as community members of humanity. It is the divine charter that is set out for us.

We are born to have such responsibility for others and for the world that we live in. We have been given the tools—some would say that they are God given—and the opportunities to succeed. Even though we sometimes fail, there is always a new day, a new year and a new challenge to focus our attention on.

God bless you in your work and in your life away from work, and may all of us find a way to fulfil, to the best of our abilities, the responsibilities that this life and this time provide for us.