MSPs must embrace Christ's example of 'servant leadership'
Published on 18 April 2023 3 minutes read
As the focus of Scottish politics remains largely concentrated on the difficulties faced by one party, a minister has reminded MSPs of the "stress and anxiety" felt by thousands of people due to the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, Rev Drew Gebbie told them that life is hard and becoming harder for those who are unemployed and on lower incomes.
He said there are so many things for people to worry about such as fuel and energy costs, food prices and the price of clothes.
The minister of Hamilton South Parish Church linked with Quarter Parish Church in South Lanarkshire said foodbanks were reporting that middle income families are now regularly using services "to help them get through the week".
Delivering Time for Reflection, Mr Gebbie said it is "essential" that policy and decision makers demonstrate "strong, wise, and compassionate leadership" to help those struggling to make ends meet.
He urged them to look to Jesus Christ and take inspiration from His "servant leadership" example in order to make a positive impact on people in every corner of society.
The minister belongs to a Church which is committed to ensuring that supporting the most vulnerable people in society is at the "heart of all that it does".
Congregations run a wide variety of different projects to support individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet throughout the year.
The Assembly Trustees made more than £93,000 available in winter support grants to help congregations turn their buildings into warm spaces during the colder months.
There are 64 designated Priority Area congregations in communities where deprivation rates fall within the bottom 5% across all of the social and economic indicators.
Supporting the most marginalised people is the "gospel imperative of the whole Church, not just the Church in the poorest places, however.
Mr Gebbie's Time for Reflection address in full.
He said: "Reportedly, moving house is one of the most stressful things anyone can do.
"My wife and I can certainly testify to that, as it's been only a year since we moved into the manse we currently reside in, and in a weeks' time we move again into our church's new manse.
"However, anxiety and stress comes in many forms, none more so that the anxiety and stress that is being felt by thousands of people throughout Scotland today.
"In every town, city, and village in Scotland, anxiety and stress has now become an everyday condition for thousands of Scots, because, well because there are so many things in society these days for people to stress about - fuel costs, food prices, the price of clothes, and so much more.
"Life is hard and becoming harder, and not just for those who are unemployed or on lower incomes.
"Everyone is feeling it.
"Foodbanks are reporting that middle income families are now regularly using foodbanks to help them get through the week.
"In St Paul's letter to the Philippians, Christians are given these words to live by – ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
"'And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'
"These are words of comfort, and I pray that they help Christians cope.
"However, would it not be ideal if we could get to a point where our anxiety was diminished enough, that as a nation we could live wisely and thoughtfully no matter the decisions we face, whatever the challenges before us as peoples of this nation?
"Strong, wise, and compassionate leadership at times, such as we're all experiencing right now, is essential.
"The leadership displayed by Jesus embodies the forms of leadership that are needed in difficult times.
"Servant leadership, a leadership of acceptance, leadership that begins in the heart and then emanates to every corner of society.
"Leadership that calms the anxious heart, and relieves the stressed mind, that welcomes the unloved, that clothes the naked and feeds the hungry.
"These are the qualities that all nations and communities look to their leaders for."