West Fife minister addresses Scottish Parliament at Time for Reflection

Rev Jayne Scott & Rev Dr Martin Scott 1West Fife Minister, the Rev Dr Martin Scott, recently addressed members of the Scottish Parliament at their weekly Time for Reflection. Dr Scott is Secretary of the Ministries Council of the Church of Scotland and lives in Culross, where wife, Jayne, is Minister at Culross Abbey.

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, who proposed Rev Scott to the Presiding Officer as a speaker, said:

“I was pleased to welcome Martin and Jayne to the Parliament. Martin’s words were thought-provoking and appropriate both for Parliament and for the wider social context.

“He concentrated his address on two inspirational figures, Rev Dr Martin Luther King and our national bard, Robert Burns, with the message that we, as individuals and as a nation gaining a sense of confidence in our identity, should reflect on the lessons of these men’s lives. I know from comments made later that his words were well received by MSPs across the Chamber.

“It is always a pleasure to meet individual constituents and groups in Parliament, and anyone wishing to attend should contact my Constituency Office to check on possibilities!”

Rev Scott’s Time for Reflection address can be viewed on the Scottish Parliament website.

The full text of his address reads:

Anniversaries can be a blessing or a bane!  How often, I wonder, have you forgotten a special anniversary: a family birthday; worse still, a wedding anniversary?  You can feel the terror welling up at the very possibility.  That’s because they are important markers in life – times when we remember, reflect and often celebrate.

This is a week to remember two key figures: yesterday was Martin Luther King Day and Friday is our own Burns Day.  I want to keep these anniversaries because both men point us beyond mere sentimentality to principles for living.  King was unshakeable in his confidence that human beings are created equal in the sight of God.  He engaged in a lifelong struggle for recognition of that most basic principle – and he did so throughout with a commitment to non-violence.  Ironically violence sought to silence his message, failing to learn the lessons of history.  King’s assassination meant that the dream spread all the quicker through the women and men who picked up the threads to weave a multi-coloured, multi-ethnic future.  The struggle for genuine equality continues, but the roots are well established, as the celebration of a day to recall King’s work indicates.

Burns was a complex figure: no doubt he had shadow sides, but he loved and celebrated life.  He also had both a healthy disrespect for false piety and a fierce sense of human equality – qualities worth remembering in a Scotland gaining confidence in its identity.  The ability with a few words to deflate pomposity and expose hypocrisy is matched in Burns by extraordinary expressions of tenderness, love and loyalty.  It is no chance thing that so many of his well-turned phrases have entered into common usage – rather it is the integrity of their imagery, capturing real life and experience.  Though couched in a non-inclusive language reflective of its era, there is no more deeply moving expression of human dignity and worth than “A Man’s a Man for a’ that”.

Both of these figures help me, as a Kirk minister, to recall another: Jesus of Nazareth.  Like King, Jesus was assassinated for his non-violent resistance to inequality, celebration of life in all its fullness and caring for the poor.  Like Burns, Jesus died young, but left a legacy of words which have influenced the world – exposing hypocrisy and raising human dignity.  These are lives worth recalling – anniversaries worth marking as individuals and as a nation.

Rev Dr Martin Scott (left), Rev Jayne Scott and Bill Walker MSP in the Scottish Parliament Garden lobby

Rev Dr Martin Scott (left), Rev Jayne Scott and Bill Walker MSP in the Scottish Parliament Garden lobby

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