Free Church of Scotland Moderator Rev. Bob Akroyd addressed the Scottish Parliament today during the ‘Time for Reflection.’
A transcript of his address can be found below plus a link to the recorded message.
Time for Reflection, The Scottish Parliament, January 9, 2024
John C. Maxwell, author of 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership asserted, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” In 2024, every choice you make here makes you. Every choice you make, makes our nation, and impacts our people.
2000 years ago, a large crowd was given a choice. There were two prisoners: Barabbas, a convicted murder and Jesus, a preacher and miracle-worker. One could be released; the other would be crucified. The response was unanimous, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas.’
George Bernard Shaw asked, ‘Why not give Christianity a trial? The question seems a hopeless one after 2000 years of resolute adherence to the old cry of “Not this man, but Barabbas.” Shaw’s conclusion was striking, ‘Yet it is beginning to look as if Barabbas is a failure.’
The way of Barabbas is strangely contemporary. Like Frank Sinatra, Barabbas did life his way. The way of Jesus is completely different. ‘He went around doing good’ by putting others first. He even gave his life ‘as a ransom for many.’ The verdict then was, ‘Not this man.’ Has much changed? G. K. Chesterton once said, ‘The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.’
As 2024 commences, you confront many problems. Much wears us down and much weighs us down. This is true for you as legislators and true for your constituents. Jesus invites us personally, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ He bears our burdens. He is willing and able to help. Jesus gets us.
For more than 20 years, I volunteered with Bethany Christian Trust and I serve as a Chaplain at Saughton Prison here in Edinburgh. I have seen Jesus meet people. He does take away their burdens and he does give rest. Jesus meets people exactly where they are but he doesn’t leave them where he finds them. The change is profound and lasting.
‘Why not give Christianity a trial?’ Consider Jesus’ life, consider his death, and consider his resurrection from the dead. You can change your mind about Jesus. Your first answer doesn’t have to be your final answer. ‘Every choice you make makes you.’
Let me close with a benediction – the Blessing of Aaron. May these words warm your hearts and enlighten your minds as you make choices with profound consequences:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Rev. Bob Akroyd, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland