Rev David Coleman leads Time For Reflection at the Scottish Parliament

Rev David Coleman
Rev David Coleman addressed the Scottish Parliament today during Time For Reflection.

Rev David Coleman, who is the environmental chaplain for Eco-Congregation Scotland, led the Time for Reflection session at the Scottish Parliament remotely today, telling MSPs that neglecting care for the planet and those who live on it "endangers the justice and the wellbeing of all".

In his speech, Mr Coleman said: "We're ringing a lot of bells this week. A traditional call to worship, and challenge for injustice and evil. Let's presume I have your attention: what bells can we ring with words?

"I'm a Christian minister of 'Good News'. But in Christian Scriptures, Good News frequently takes the form of warnings, which we heed to our joy or neglect at our peril. The urgent warnings of climate science are nothing if not God-given.

"Today I'm attending COP in Glasgow. In the Parliament, you can see on the walls of the chamber representations of the people of Scotland who have elected you, and whom you serve. But that's not the limit of your calling. There are all those without votes or the ability to vote - children and people imprisoned by illness. And those despairing that their vote has a contribution to make. They too are the common concern of every human being who claims to love their neighbour. Including refugees, who are and have been vital to shaping Scotland, all the way back to St Mungo's foundation of the city where nations have come together so wonderfully, and so imperfectly.

"Excluding those guests, those incomers, those unenfranchised equals in God's sight, we would be diminished and impoverished in every spiritual and other sense.

"Fellow citizens or not, fellow humans command our respect and love. In parliament, you have attended to many issues of inclusion. Equality of the right to marry, the defence of racial and gender identities and more.

"I hope that, if the chamber were ever to be changed, that admirable wall with the figures will receive special attention to reflect your evolving vision. So that as you meet you're confronted not just by an elephant in the room, but the thousands of endangered species and habitats too. Looking you in the eye. In Christianity - and I'm delighted to affirm, far from uniquely or exclusively - love of God and neighbour are never in competition, always mutually authenticating.

"And, with the lead given globally by spiritual leaders like Pope Francis - and just as importantly, the 500 plus local grassroots communities of Eco-Congregation, whom COP has brought unprecedentedly closer to other faith groups; with a reclaiming of the permission to see the earth and all their creatures as neighbours, partners; to neglect whose care, and love objectively endangers the justice and the wellbeing of all."