I love the kind of simplicity and clarity that is evident in the following. It's part of an online article in Lorna Dueck's TV program, Context. It's an interview by Susan Ponting - a Q and A with Prof. John Stackhouse.
SP: Can you put into “modern terms” – or for someone who may not know the love of Jesus and He’s alive today in our world… What he meant when he said…“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
JS: Jesus warns us that we will have trouble in the world. The world is a good place full of beauty and delight and comfort and kindness, but it is also deeply corrupted by horror and ugliness and pain and sin. Jesus came to show us a better way to live AND to make it possible for us to live it. His life, death, and resurrection, mysterious as they are even to theologians, offer us life that is not lived alone, but in the company of the Greatest Friend we could ever have, a lifelong Brother, in fact, who will never forsake us and instead will roll up his sleeves and work alongside us.
And his Church is full of people who will live with us and work alongside us as well—at least, the healthy churches are like that.
When our particular bit of work is done, he’ll bring us home to the next life in a new world.
That’s all very good news, isn’t it!
SP: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Is there anything else you would like to say?
JS: I would say that there is great good news for you, as for all of us. There is a God who made you, and made us and sees each of us as important, playing a role only we can play. It is easy to think of oneself as small and useless, of no importance, but that is a dangerous illusion fostered by the promotion by Hollywood and Madison Avenue of a certain kind of “success”—which, as the celebrity deaths show us, does not automatically result in happiness and fulfillment after all.
What study after study shows, and what ancient wisdom tells us long before, is that what makes life worth living is good relationships with other people: contributing to their lives and having them contribute to ours…what the Bible means by “love your neighbour.” And if you’re lonely and sad, you can bet there are lots of other people who are, too. So find them! Go to a shelter, a nursing home, a prison, a veterans club, a community centre, a soup kitchen, a food bank. Help others, and join a team of helpful people who can become your friends. Large-scale help is usually accomplished the way most big things are accomplished: one person at a time. Be that one person.
And, as a Christian, I want to say that the greatest good news is that God and the Church will help you. So contact a nearby church. Volunteer to help—you don’t have to believe to be useful in good work. Then listen to what they say, and sing, and see if it makes sense to you. There is light and hope to be had. Don’t give up!