MSPs urged to help build a land where everyone is valued and welcomed

Members of the Scottish Parliament have been urged to help build a land were love dwells and all people can safely live.

The call was made by Rev Sarah Nicol, minister of St Cuthbert's Parish Church in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, who delivered the first Time for Reflection for 2020 this afternoon.

Her address focused on Epiphany – the feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

Rev Sarah Nicol
Rev Sarah Nicol addresses MSPs in the Scottish Parliament

Mrs Nicol was invited to Holyrood by Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North.

She said: "My reflection is based around the journey of the wise men in search of Jesus, and this sign of the love of God including people of all nations.

"I hope to make a connection with the people making journeys to our land in search of a welcome."

Here follows Mrs Nicol's address.

"Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany, a day when Christians remember the visit of wise men to the Christ Child in Bethlehem.

Although Nativity Plays and paintings often portray the wise men being present with the shepherds on the night of Jesus' birth, it is quite likely that their journey from wherever their homelands were took some time.

Based on Herod's slaughter of boys under the age of two in that town, scholars have suggested their arrival may have been up to two years after they first spotted the new star in the sky.

Epiphany has inspired many with its wonderful message of the love of God being revealed widely to people from every corner of the world.

God does not restrict His love to the people of one nation or ancestry, for He is a God who includes everyone in His embrace, although, of course, we are free to accept or reject His love.

Christmas shows us the long journey God is willing to make to reveal His love to us, leaving the wonder of heaven for the down-to-earth life of a child sleeping in a manger in an animal shelter in a crowded town in a troubled land.

Epiphany shows us that even our shorter journeys from where we are now to where God wants us to be, needs great commitment and perseverance from ourselves.

Where does God want us to be?

In a place where every child born is valued and cared for as God's gift to us.

We have some distance still to travel, haven't we?

God's far-reaching love and the journeys we need to undertake to respond to His love and share His love, is something to remember in a time when many people are seeking refuge in lands like our own.

Epiphany challenges us to recognise the value of the journeys they have made and to consider how in our land they may experience something of the all embracing love of God which has been such an important part of the faith and heritage of our land and our people.

There is a hymn we sing which could be adapted for use across our land.

‘Let us build a land where love can dwell, and all can safely live … all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.'"