Lincoln’s Log 10-4-2020

The Good News at the Heart of Jesus

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.”
Mt. 21:42 (see Psalm 118:22-23)

There is something wonderful about our faith. At the very heart of what we believe lies the message and person of Jesus Christ. He is the “stone rejected by the builders.”

While each of us has been created in the image of God, we have also all fallen into sin and betrayed that image. We have traded away the great gift we have been given for all sorts of things that will never satisfy our hearts. We are broken and helpless. Like the tenants in the parable this week (Mt. 21:33-43), we have betrayed and rejected our Lord through sin and disobedience. Our hearts have turned to greed and tried to possess what we were meant to care for. We have failed to love as we should. We have not cared for one another or our planet the way God intended but have used people for our own ends and exploited our resources for selfish gain. Underneath all of this lies a profound rejection of God’s plan for us.

Yet Jesus came to restore our lost image. He came to teach us how to live. But more importantly, to make new life possible by dying for us and in rising from the dead, he opened the gates to eternal life. He became the stone rejected by the builders so that he could become the cornerstone of our new life the Kingdom of God. This new life is offered to all who will accept it.

Living this new life is an adventure. It is “wonderful in our eyes.” It is a life filled with joy because our dignity as children of God has been restored. We are free to love as God loves and produce the fruit of the Kingdom.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

P.S. Stay tuned for the “Exploring His Kingdom Podcast” coming soon!

Lincoln’s Log 9-27-2020

New Beginnings!

 

“Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.”
Phil 2:5

“The one who does not advance falls back.”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux

This weekend we celebrate the sacraments in a powerful way. The Kopke family begins anew as Shawn receives the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation while his daughter Addison celebrates her first Communion. Maria Harland also celebrates sacraments as she is Confirmed and receives her First Communion alongside her son Grayson. Stephanie Potter will also celebrate Confirmation and First Communion. These adults had been preparing to receive these sacraments at Easter this year, but COVID-19 prevented that, but now is the time for this new beginning for them!

These sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist are called sacraments of initiation because they are a new beginning in the life of grace. Each time we engage in the celebration of the Eucharist, we begin again. Our spiritual life circles back again and again to this central sacrament which is a source of grace for our life in the Spirit. The Eucharist is ever ancient and ever new. Sometimes, like during a pandemic, the celebration of the Eucharist looks different, but the deep structures and the grace of the sacrament are the same.

As a parish, we are also at a new beginning. Our new Discipleship Formation process (formerly called Faith Formation) is kicking off. This new process will empower each of us to advance as followers of Jesus. A lot of things are going to be new. We will be using new technology to proclaim and share the gospel. Our calendar will look very different. But the deep structures are the same. We will be focusing on the Word of God and our relationship with Jesus and those around us. Please join us on Oct. 7 at 6:15 pm either in person (in church) or on our Facebook page as we strive to begin anew as disciples of Jesus.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 9-20-2020

Seven Streams of Discipleship Formation Part 2

“Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.”
Is. 55:6

Our Discipleship Formation year kicks off soon! This year we will be seeking the Lord by exploring seven key streams of our tradition that flow from the heart of Jesus. Last week’s Log gave a brief description of the first four themes: 1. The Heart of Jesus, 2. The compassionate life,. 3. The prayer-filled life, and 4. The sacramental life. Here are the other streams we will be diving into this year:

February – A disciple … Lives a virtuous life. They are not driven primarily by rules or perfectionism but are attentive to the sources of their actions. They seek the purity of heart the Gospel speaks of (Mt. 5:8) and intentionally take on new patterns of living. A disciple strives to develop holy habits that flow from the grace of God dwelling within them.

March – A disciple … Lives a Word-centered life. They study, live, and proclaim the good news of God revealed in Jesus Christ and transmitted through the Scriptures and great Tradition of the church interpreted by the Magisterium. They see God’s Word as the light for their path and the light of the world (Ps. 119:105; cf. Mt. 14016).

Apri – A disciple … Lives a Spirit-empowered life. They are aware that the Holy Spirit enables them to do more than their natural abilities allow. A disciple grows in the ability to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and the gifts the Spirit gives. In short, a disciple lives “by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).

May – A disciple … returns to the heart of Jesus to live and proclaim His Kingdom.

Our whole parish will be drinking from these streams together each month. For families, we will have an orientation for parents on Wednesday, September 23 at 6:15 pm in the church to give an overview of the year.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 9-13-2020

Seven Streams of Discipleship Formation Part 1

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Psalm 95:8

God’s invitation never ceases. He is calling each of us to deeper discipleship every moment of every day. But what does that mean? This year our discipleship formation process is focusing on seven streams of discipleship that flow from the heart of Jesus (see Jn. 37:37-38). We are planning some creative new ways to engage these themes (stay tuned), but today I wanted to let you know what these themes are. We will explore one of these themes each month. Here are the first themes we will be exploring:

October – A disciple… drinks from the streams of living water that flow from the heart of Jesus.

November – A disciple … Lives a compassionate life. They seek justice, compassion, and peace in every area of life from the personal to the social to the global. The activities of a disciple are motivated by the love of God and neighbor Jesus’ taught (Cf. Mk. 12:31). Disciples work to bring all relationships into harmony, unity, and balance.

December – A disciple … Lives a prayer-filled life. They are continually drawn into the love of God. A disciple values the inner life, especially silence, solitude, and prayer.

January – A disciple … Lives a sacramental life. They recognize that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn. 1:14). They live in a God-soaked world and strive to see the divine presence in the material world. A disciple shares in the sacraments of the church and sees them as primary ways of encountering God.

Next week I’ll share the themes for the rest of the year!

Our whole parish will be drinking from these streams together each month. For families, we will have an orientation for parents on Wednesday, September 23 at 6:15 pm in the church to give an overview of the year.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 9-6-2020

Reading for Transformation

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name,there am I in the midst of them.”
Mt. 18:20

Last year I took part in an international book group sponsored by Renovare, an ecumenical spiritual formation group. It was fantastic! The books that were chosen were right on topic. Some were challenging, some were easy, and some I even used in my homilies. Along with the books, there were bonus essays, podcasts, interviews with the author (or an expert in the reading), and discussion groups. Reading is a powerful spiritual practice.

So why am I telling you this? Because the book group is starting again this month. I had such a good experience last year that I volunteered to lead one of the virtual discussion groups. I’ve started the first book and it is excellent. You may hear parts of it this year in my preaching; I’m already taking notes on what to steal 😉

If you would like to join this spiritual formation book group it’s simple.

  1. Visit Renovare.org/bookclub
  2. Review the information there and see if it is appealing to you.
  3. Join the book club by clicking on a “Join” link.
  4. Complete the information they ask for.
    1. Note joining the club is $50 and includes the first book (other books are purchased separately).
  5. There are many possible discussion groups at a variety of times available. The virtual (e.g. online) one I am leading will take place on the First Thursday of each month at 10 am. After you have joined the Renovare Book Club, you can email me and I can send you the details about how to join my particular discussion group. Space is limited so don’t wait!

Reading is an excellent way to grow in your knowledge and love of God. Reading with a group takes you even deeper.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader