Scotland's patron saint symbol of welcome and respect

Dr Lorna Hood
Dr Lorna Hood

Scotland's patron saint "transcends boundaries" and represents people who are more than "us", a former Moderator of the General Assembly has said.

Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood said St Andrew was a symbol of a "welcoming, respectful and inclusive nation".

The former minister of Renfrew North Parish Church, who was Moderator in 2013-14, added that he was a "worthy" patron saint for Scotland, particularly in a post-Brexit world.

Dr Hood delivered Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Scotland earlier today.

Here is what she said:

"Good morning

November 30th last day of the month but more importantly for us in Scotland- St Andrew’s Day – the day of our Patron Saint.

A Galilean fisherman he was the first disciple, bringing his brother Simon Peter to meet Jesus.

In fact he made a habit of introducing people to Jesus – his brother, the boy with loaves and fishes and Greeks, foreigners interested in his master.

Andrew was more of a background person seeing himself as a channel pointing people in the right direction rather than seeking the limelight.

His subsequent preaching about Jesus took him as far as the Black Sea and resulted in his martyrdom, crucified by the Romans on an X-shaped cross at Patras in Greece. X-shaped as, according to legend, he did not deem himself worthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus.

A worthy patron saint -but he doesn’t just belong to us.

Respect and dignity

He is the patron saint of several countries and cities including: Barbados, Prussia Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Amalfi in Italy, Esgueira in Portugal, Luqa in Malta, ParaƱaque in the Philippines and Patras in Greece.

And in so many ways that internationalism, I think, makes him an even worthier and more representative patron saint of our land.

With all the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and particularly the fears of those who live and work here as immigrants, alongside the language we hear from political leaders and those on the streets of our towns that is potentially divisive, it is good that we can celebrate today a patron saint who transcends boundaries representing more than ‘us’.

A patron saint we share with those who are not ‘us’.

Andrew was a faithful witness to his master whom he watched welcome the stranger and treat women and small children with respect and dignity in a society that counted them as nothing.

As we wonder post Brexit the shape of a future Scotland, may our patron saint Andrew be a symbol for us of a welcoming, respectful and inclusive nation."