Lincoln’s Log 12-6-2020

The Hope of Advent

“‘Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”
Is. 40:1

[Note: Due to my schedule and early holiday bulletin deadlines, I am writing this Log a few days before Thanksgiving.]

As I write this my heart is experiencing the tug of war between hope and despair. This tension has become familiar over the last several months. For example, I read in the news about a promising vaccine and further down the page about the health and economic challenges of the coming winter. I look outside and see the sun shining, but I know the grey of winter will be coming. My heart and my mood vacillate between a cautious optimism and the depths of despair. For me, this is the mood of Advent.

Advent is always a season of waiting and of promise. It can handle this type of tension. Today’s second reading reminds me that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day” (2 Pt. 3:8). The journey we are on is a long one filled with tension. This is not a surprise. We can be patient and sit with the tension. But there is more than just stoic endurance for us this Advent.

The real good news that Advent brings is that this tension is leading us somewhere. We are people of hope because we are on a journey that has a destination. Several years ago, Pope Benedict reminded us that, “the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey” (Spe Salvi #1).

Advent reminds us that there is a goal and that it will justify the struggles and tensions we experience on the way. The Second Letter of Peter puts it this way, “According to His promise we await new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pt. 3:13).

This tension in my heart is an invitation to hope. The promise of God’s coming Kingdom is great enough, and his promise sure enough, that I will live this Advent filled with hope. The struggle is real, but the promise is sure.

May God bless you on your Advent journey.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 10-20-13

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

              Lk. 18:1

Can you help me with my math?”

It was about 9pm. I had just finished cleaning up after our family meal (it was that kind of day). I walked into the living room, plopped down in the recliner with a long sigh. I was hoping to zone out in front of something on netflix for a bit before going to bed. And the question came. “Can you help me with my math?”

I was weary. Physically weary. My feet and back ached. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get out of the chair!

I was mentally weary. I had crunched numbers in the morning and had meetings through the afternoon and evening.

I was emotionally weary. Part of the day had been spent listening to and praying with people who were suffering. I was drained.

But I had barely talked with my son all day. I had been running from one thing to the next. He had been running too. Even at supper I was in my own little world. The better part of me knew that I had to get up and try to help him. My son was important, even though I wasn’t sure I could be very helpful (I love math but its been a while since I’ve done algebra!) I knew that simply standing beside him and supporting him as he did his math would make a difference. He needed me to be there to ask a few questions to keep him focused. The relationship was what was important, not my math skills.

Sometimes my prayer life is like that too. After a long day I often feel too tired to pray. Sometimes I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. But I know it is important to spend time with God. It is the time spent in relationship that matters.

I think that one reason Jesus urges us to “pray always without becoming weary” is so that we spend time with him every day. Its not always about what we bring to our prayer. Sometimes it is simply about showing up, even if we are weary.

Peace,

Lincoln A. Wood

Healing

I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.

And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.

I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self,

And wounds to the soul take a long, long time,

Only time can help,

And patience, and a certain difficult repentance,

Long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake,

And the freeing oneself from the endless repetition of the mistake

Which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.

“Healing” by D.H. Lawrence

Love

Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offense or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end.

1 Cor. 13.4-8

Loving the Questions

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Rilke

Patience

Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Be patient and trust that the treasure you are looking for is hidden in the ground on which you stand.
Henri J.M. Nouwen