Forgiveness is something offered by Christian faith which you will not find anywhere else in the world. It deals with the “predicament of irreversibility” – the fact that we cannot undo what has been done. Forgiveness enables us to start again no matter what damage has been done, no matter what hurt has been afflicted. Jesus forgives, and empowers us to forgive one another.

The temple of high finance came crashing down when the banking crisis revealed the finitude and failings of the “masters of the universe”. The temple of a great media empire is currently toppling as its unsavoury and criminal methods prove to be its undoing. Could it be that “the stone which the builders rejected turns out to be the most important of all”? Time for second thoughts about Jesus?

The good news of Jesus Christ has reached us because one person has been telling another for 2,000 years. The telling has been effective because it has occurred in the context of the deep human relationships which make transformation possible. When shared between true friends the good news comes to life.

Unstinting generosity was a hallmark of the early Christian communities. Celtic Christianity likewise made hospitality one of its primary virtues. A bed, a meal and an invitation to worship were offered to anyone who knocked on the door of the monastery. Can we today challenge an individualist and consumerist society by rediscovering the extraordinary generosity and hospitality which marks a community where Christ is Lord?

Google is a wonderful tool. So much knowledge can be accessed just with a few keystrokes. But can you google wisdom? No, there is a whole realm of practical understanding, spiritual insight and strength of character which is not so easily accessible. In this realm the Book of Proverbs advises us: start with God!

How do you feel about the future? We are in a time of many uncertainties. Yet faith can give us confidence.  A sermon in church gave Barack Obama the title of his autobiography: “The Audacity of Hope”. Confidence in God yields the kind of hope which energises us for the challenges of today.

A storm of great ferocity struck Argyll last Monday, leaving trees and plants blasted, boats broken from moorings and driven on to the rocks. A sharp reminder of how fragile is our world and how urgent the call that we care for it. God cares for the whole creation. Its promised renewal in Jesus Christ begins with us. The personal and the cosmic are united in the vision of faith.

Gobsmacked – that’s what we are when we encounter the reality of God. So worship needs to allow for silence. When we do find words we need to use them as a springboard to launch forth towards that which is beyond words. Both speaking and silence have an important role in our relationship with God.

History has been described as a conversation between the past and the present about the future. In Christian worship we remember stories of God’s action in the past. Not for the sake of nostalgia. But to energize us for life in the present and to create genuine hope for the future. There is power in the memory carried by the church – and it is there for you to tap into.

Life has a depth dimension which is full of mystery. Science wonderfully opens up many fields of knowledge but also let us know how much there is which stretches beyond what we can understand or explain. Worship is conducted within this realm of mystery. In Jesus Christ God has revealed what he is doing yet so great is the mystery that eternity will be spent discovering ever more of what it means.