Minister asks MSPs if they walk in the gutter or on the pavement
Published on 20 January, 2016
A Church of Scotland minister addressed MSPs in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
The Rev Chris Galbraith of Boghall Parish Church in Bathgate, West Lothian delivered Time for Reflection, which heralds the start of the parliamentary business week.Here is what we said.
"Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for your invitation and greetings from Boghall parish.
When Jesus told stories, he often compared two people: the rich man and Lazarus; the Pharisee and the poor widow; the two sons; and the sheep and the goats.
I wonder what stories Jesus would tell today to make his point.
I get the feeling that there are two types of people in the world, and you can tell them apart in this way.
If you are walking down the street and there is just enough room for two to pass, and a couple come towards you, what do you do?Do you step into the gutter and let them pass, or do you carry on walking, oblivious that the other people are even there?
Are you a gutter person or a pavement person?
If you are having to think about it, you are a pavement person, because us gutter folk do not need to think about it.
The theologians, philosophers, and evolutionary biologists have been discussing human nature for as long as they have been around.
The poets, too, have wrestled with what we are made for, and how we should live our lives.
Robert Burns's oft quoted line - "To see oursels as others see us!" is still as relevant today as when he wrote it.
Jesus said that we need to be taught how to see.He said: "If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light".
The lens with which we see the world and ourselves needs to be clean for us to be healthy in our world.
Thankfully, most religions are rediscovering their meditative traditions.
It means that, as well as finding stillness, that time to look inwards, to allow God in, we also end up looking outwards to the world and see it in a different way.
It is not just about seeing ourselves as others see us or, indeed, as God sees us; it is also about seeing others as God sees them.
Some Christians see the crucifixion of Jesus as the event that should have led to the end of all scapegoating.
The cross says that scapegoating is a bankrupt system.
Pavement people or gutter people? That is really just another way of judging folks.It seems that seeing ourselves and others with a healthy eye, and ending stereotyping and scapegoating, is a bit harder to do than to say."