Today, I'd like to share with you a couple of brief excerpts from a sermon I preached some time ago. I stumbled upon it this morning while looking for something else.
I feel as strongly about this today as I did when I first preached it.
I'd love to hear some response about Tillich's great "acceptance" passage if anyone is so inclined!
Here you go:
“Sometimes… a wave of light breaks into our darkness and it is as if a voice were saying, ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you… Do not seek for anything…; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.’”
The great theologian Paul Tillich said that. And as far as I’m concerned nothing else he wrote comes close to the power, the startling, staggering, perfect truth of this famous “acceptance” statement. If I were the rector of a Church I think I would be tempted to repeat this quote to the same people every Sunday for a year, I think it is so important.In case you want to know, this part of the sermon was referring to Galatians 2:11-21.
Can you accept the fact that you are accepted? It sounds so simple – perhaps too simple. But this acceptance is exactly what Paul is talking about when he says, “if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.”
What an extraordinary a gift it is to be accepted! How dare we think it is too easy! Surely there is something else we have to do! Do you think Tillich’s statement is too easy? “Accept that you are accepted?” I did. Until I tried it. Anyone who has spent much time in silent meditation knows how difficult it is to be completely aware of our own thoughts and feelings and then to accept them – unconditionally. I cannot sit for five minutes – probably not even one minute – in such a total acceptance. Yes, the way of acceptance is a crucifixion. It hurts. It kills. And what it kills is that which must die if we are ever to say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”