Let Them Preach Grace

A Moment with Frederick Buechner
“Preaching Grace”

How much preaching we hear from the lips of men and women who give us no way of knowing that they were themselves once upon a time passionately moved by the gospel, which they proclaim now with so little apparent passion. Let them preach about the moments of grace in their own lives. Let them preach about the flesh-and-blood reality of those moments and about how, even though there are many other moments when grace seems faint and far away, those moments of grace remain their richest treasure and dearest hope.

Or if for some reason they shy away from preaching about those moments — either because they seem too precious or perhaps too threadbare and elusive to tell — then at least let them preach out of them because not to speak from the heart of where their faith comes from is to risk never really touching the hearts of those of us who so hungrily listen.

from The Longing for Home
by Frederick Buechner

5 thoughts on “Let Them Preach Grace

  1. Wonderful, wise words from Buechner.

    I wasted my youth in graceless, authoritarian, legalistic evangelicalism. I am so thankful to many (including Orthodox writers and teachers) who have shared their stories of grace and opened the door to a life path of freedom, grace and gratitude. It is a true redemption story.

    Jesus words form Matt 11 through the interpretation of Eugene Peterson’s “Message” say it all. ” Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. . . . . Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace. . . . .Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”


  2. It is not the eloquence of the words spoken. It is not the lyrics of a story spun. It is more. Obviously, you are speaking to the lack of authority to speak as minister. Ultimately it is the lack of authority of the the church organization which ordained the speaker.

    I suggest the believer who complains while sitting passively Sunday after Sunday, FIND the church organization which has the authority. Clue, it won’t be the Orthodoxy that descends from the traditions you presently admire. But it will be very Christian, nevertheless.


  3. I don’t know why I have never really heard of Buechner before. I’m particularly finding interest in the inspiration he found in Tillich. But anyone who in this day and age who can write about grace like he does has my interest. I can’t emphasize enough how antithetical grace is to the theology of contemporary evangelicalism. Legalism is more pervasive than typical moralism; legalism is that human pride so engrained in the sinful nature which insists that one can save him or herself, or has no need of a savior. One just needs at most a hand-up or a second chance. Again, our lack of a historical perspective, particularly regarding how much evangelicalism and fundamentalism is entrenched in modernistic ideals, is very dangerous. Modernism has no need of grace; anything we lack is cured by enlightenment, not by the loving intervention of the Divine. We r ead in awe at the characters in Revelation begging the mountains to fall on them and cursing God rather than repenting, but that is our collective human condition. We don’t want or need God.


  4. Beautiful. It is exactly this kind of preaching that is making me fall in love with my Savior, for the first time in my tumultuous Christian life.


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