Devotional thoughts from Eberhard Jüngel

From "On Becoming Truly Human: The Significance of the Reformation Distinction Between Person and Works for the Self-Understanding of Modern Humanity," in Theological Essays II (ed. John Webster):

As person I am, before all my own activities, primarily one who receives, that is, a self who not only receives something but above all receives myself. Even in the elementary activities of life I am directed to receive before I can give and be active. No one can speak by themselves. One must first hear and thus, before sending, first receive. No one can love by themselves. One must first be loved and thus receive love. No one can trust by themselves. One must first find trust in order as a result to go out of oneself in an unfettered way, to forsake oneself, in order to entrust oneself to another. And so human persons will not become truly human by themselves - and certainly not through their own activity. Truly human persons are those who are able to accept themselves, able to receive their being continually anew as a gift. Truly human persons are those who are gifted - not with any special advantages, but - with themselves. [. . .]

[Like] the individual, the human society oriented to achievement must also undergo an elemental interruption, by which we are transposed out of our activities into a very lively, very intensive, indeed highly creative passivity. In a very profound sense, the work week exists from the sabbath rest, from the creative rest in which from being possessors and agents we become beings, beings who rejoice in the astonishing primal fact which never ceases to amaze, namely that we even exist at all rather than not existing. Truly human persons know that they are not to thank for themselves; and for just this reason, the truly human person will be a grateful person.