Time for Reflection

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 19 April 2022.

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Photo of Alison Johnstone Alison Johnstone Green

The first item of business this afternoon is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today, who is no stranger to the chamber, is the Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC (Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland):

Presiding Officer, it is both a privilege and a pleasure to be back in this chamber, albeit in a somewhat different role; to lead this time for reflection, which is, I understand, the first in-person reflection in more than two years; and to bring you and the Parliament the warm greetings of the General Assembly.

Those two years have been very difficult and challenging and, for some, they have been traumatic and heart breaking, and w e meet against a backdrop of cruel strife and war on our own continent of Europe. It would be so easy to become despairing yet, during this time, we have also seen, in the words of Pope Francis, “an eruption of humanity”. We have seen neighbours helping each other, profound examples of compassion and caring and, in the response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, a willingness to welcome the stranger. Such outpourings of love and concern are surely an antidote to pessimism, beacons of hope and light in the darkness.

At this Eastertide, we who are Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a cause for joy and hope. It is an affirmation of life over death and a triumph of love over hate. It is a time to celebrate life, rebirth and resurrection presence in, with and through all things and peoples.

Now is a time for us all to reflect on a new imagining for our country in a post-Covid world and to see the world not only as it is, but with a vision as to how it might be and what our contribution will be in making it so. That is a call to service.

I want to share and commend to you part of a prayer that was given to me in my early days as a member of Parliament, which is based on St Francis of Assisi’s “A Letter to the Rulers of the Peoples”:

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, fading symbols of honour, trappings of power, but only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.

Enter into God’s plan of liberating all peoples from everything that oppresses them and obstructs their development as human beings. Do not grow tired of working for peace among all people.

Uphold the rights and dignity of the human person. Foster the creation of a society where human life is cherished and where all peoples of the planet can enjoy its gifts, which God created for all in a Spirit of love and justice and equality.”