Accepting Acceptance

It was my junior year, in a 20th century theology class, that I first came across the work of Paul Tillich. Having taught at both Union Theological Seminary and Harvard University, he is considered to be one of that century’s most influential thinkers.

Today, while doing some sermon prep, I came across this gem.

Read it aloud. Let it sink in. It will be impossible for it not to stir your heart.

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of meaningless and empty life…

It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us.

It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage.

Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know.’

Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much.

Do not seek for anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that your are accepted. If that happens to us, we experience grace.”

– Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations

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