‘Does anybody know what we are living for?’ asked Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock group Queen, in the lyrics of the last song on their album, *Innuendo*. Millions are implicitly asking just that question. Jonathan Gabay, a thirty-one-year-old professional writer, was facing employment challenges and stress when he hit rock bottom. He began to ask questions about the meaning of life. He wrote to people in all walks of life: world leaders, the homeless, Oscar-winning actors, philosophers, comedians, taxi-drivers, teachers, explorers and prisoners on death row. He even wrote to me! To each one he asked, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Gabay compiled a book of our responses, together with others who had attempted, over time, to answer this question. They include the following: Richard Nixon: ‘Life is one crisis after another.’ John Lennon: ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ Dennis the Menace: ‘Life is what you make it – and I can make it UNBEARABLE!’ Albert Einstein: ‘The man who regards his life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.’
Numerous people replied that the meaning and purpose of life was to be found in Jesus Christ. Not only Mother Teresa and Billy Graham, but actors, scientists and the then Lord Chancellor. The Chief Cashier of the Bank of England, Graham Kentfield (whose signature was on every banknote at the time) said, ‘I am clear that the meaning of life can only be properly understood in the context of our *relationship with God*.’
Psalm 117:1–2. Life is about love and worship.
This short psalm says so much about what life is all about. The key is your relationship with God. You should ‘praise’ and ‘extol’ the Lord (v.1) because of his great ‘love’ for you and ‘faithfulness’ towards you (v.2). The psalmist gives us a beautiful summary of God’s attitude to you, and what your attitude to him should be.
And that’s the memo.
By Nicky Gumbel