Me: The combination of Lewis’s chapter titled “Hope” in Mere Christianity and Matthew’s book in the New Testament made all the difference in the world for me. Matthew convinced me that Jesus was the Messiah, and he opened the way for me to find that other world that Lewis said I was looking for.
For anyone who has felt the pang of “maybe life is meaningless,” the gospel is good news indeed and a radical contrast to either hedonism or nihilism, the two worldviews that, for some, seem like the only options.
Finally, I love to talk to people about how Lewis helps me appreciate beauty. Whether it’s in a beautiful melody or a gorgeous painting or a breathtaking sunset or a redemptive ending to a book or movie, Lewis has given me permission to allow the aftertaste of beauty to linger. So much of current culture is despairing or depressing or absurd that many people have given up hoping for goodness or joy. Even the world of stand-up comedy has become dominated by cynicism and insult, mocking the very idea of a happy ending. Ironically, that world is getting less funny and more harsh. (Screwtape must be delighted!)
But the eternity God has planted in people’s hearts won’t allow them to completely abandon the notion that maybe, just maybe, there is such a thing as goodness. Maybe the reason why Lewis’s Narnia books still sell and captivate is because there is an ultimate happy ending in a world that isn’t “always winter and never Christmas.” I love to ask people why they think we can’t stop listening to beautiful music or flock to art museums or rewatch movies with happy endings. Sometimes their answers open them up to consider larger and happier stories. At the end of Lewis’s stimulating sermon The Weight of Glory, he said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”4
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