Approaching the Cross


I am repeating some posts from 2013 this week:

At the Cross

In the deep dark early this morning,
skies so black and veiled, we saw little clearly,
and felt the dark fall on each of us.
I was there at the cross,
overcome with grief and guilt and heart aching.
I touched the cross,
thinking I might be slapped down,
and felt the slivers and rough wood, and
felt then moist blood.
My heart ached in a new way.
Suddenly, I am lifted away.

(c) Tom Bolton, 5 March 2013, Milwaukee

Stations of the cross

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A Neighbor


In March 2014, I was writing more regularly than I have this Spring, and it has been a different experience to return there as a visitor.

                                In Serving

In the neighbor, new and newly embraced,
He comes to me.
Found in ways newly dreamed,
He embraces me and him,
and we walk together, and
He is apace with us.
God’s goodness is there with us,
each step of the way.
We seek to be like Him,
fearing what we may be,
and desirous of walking the path.
Blessed, we meet the Christ.
It is in that walk, skipping and stumbling
with the child, that we embrace and are embraced.
We are here blessed.

(c) Tom Bolton, approaching a place, 11 March 2014

200px-Circuit_rider_illustration_Eggleston

On Mark 9:37
36-37 He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”

The Message (MSG)

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A Speck


I wrote this in July 2013.

What a Speck

The Milwaukee Center on Milwaukee's RiverWalk

The Milwaukee Center on Milwaukee’s RiverWalk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I saw sinners everywhere I wandered—
And I was out with a purpose!—
And I was astounded,
And I was thankful for who I am.
On the bus early in the morning, there were drunks,
And druggies, I’d say.
Thank God, I am clear-minded and ready at dawn.
I’m facing my true self, and I thank God:
I like what I see,
And I see so clearly.
I know my sins, but I see them clearly;
They are so small!
I see people frittering their time.
Piercings annoy me and I know they can’t be right.
These tattoos cannot be there for good, and what costs do they add to what worth?
Did you see that fight by the school?
That violence is crazy bad; I see children risked each day.
Wasted resources are all on display too.
Elders, left alone and dying alone, where is their respect?
So much hurt and so much lost, where are disciples serving?
All around me, folks are finding shortcomings.
I found mine long in the past.
I have skillfully examined my faults,
And I have weighted them well,
And I care not to judge.
This traffic jam up ahead: Why are so many people driving?
Can’t they car pool or bus it?
Look at that man’s gold watch! What could I buy with that?
I have excused myself over and over today.
Ah, ah, out speck!
Let me not be an excuse! Let me forget to judge instead.
Where have I been that so clearly I see,
And yet I cannot see all that is there? Is it in me?

© Tom Bolton, 24 July, 2013, Milwaukee, on the Grand Avenue

Contemplating Matthew 7:3—AGAIN!

“So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer’s eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own eye?”

OUCH.

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March Offshoots


I have meant to record Lisa’s newsletter about Mineral Street Programs and Services.

 

Here it is:

We have exciting news! Morning Glory start(ed) partially running on March 14th. We are going to rent the pavilion at Clark Square Park right across the street from where we were serving breakfast at 2300 W Mineral St. I am saying “partially running” because we will only be able to serve breakfast twice a month at this time. We will not be able to hand out clothes or provide showers and it will cost us $100 each time we use the building. But we will be back within the community and able to share the Gospel of God with the people again! That part is exciting. The second date for this month is March 28th.

The other exciting news is that we have a Program Director for Blossoms. A program for   223918_7ed0e8f34e154bcfa6782bc4aa567b67_jpg_srb_p_600_649_75_22_0_50_1_20_0teen moms, Blossoms will provide guidance and support for moms age 18 and younger, and their children.  Blossoms will offer classes for parenting skills, opportunities for mutual support, and practical care for the girls and their children. We anticipate this program would meet once a week with special services (such as transportation for doctor’s visits) provided on an “as needed” basis. Details are still being worked out but we should see this program up and running soon.

Our Business Plan is almost complete. If you would like a copy please let me know. However, you will see most of our plan by going to our website. If you tried to go to our website earlier in February you may have experienced difficulty logging on to our site. It is now up and running. One feature that we included is a PayPal button to receive on-line donations. You can access that on the contact page. We also have some pictures on the site with more to come.

We are still trying to raise funds for a building either through grants, individual donations, or even through Milwaukee County itself. Milwaukee owns a lot of vacant buildings and we are hopeful that they, too, would be able to help us. We are also looking for sponsors. If you are interested in being a sponsor we would like to include your name or company name on our website.

If you would like to volunteer or would like to know how you can help please contact me.

We are still looking for more board members who might be interested in helping us with the direction and growth of MSP&S. Our specific need is for an attorney and someone with accounting background. But anyone is welcomed who has a heart for God and shares the same vision.

In Christ,

Lisa Hernandez

Morning Glory Director

MSP&S Clerk

Donations can be made to MSP&S and sent to Tri-City National Bank; 4295 West Bradley Road; Brown Deer, WI 53209; ATTN: Penny Tillman

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On Feeding the Lonely Too


223918_7ed0e8f34e154bcfa6782bc4aa567b67_jpg_srb_p_600_649_75_22_0_50_1_20_0At one of the feeding programs where I serve regularly, a supporting church recently abandoned their support because we served individuals who did not seem to need support. The pastor there observed that some of our guests had shiny shoes, some had cars, and some appeared to own homes.

I have resisted the urge to argue much about this for several months.  I’ll leave it to others to make their decisions.  I wanted to observe that at this particular place, I am most excited and thankful about some of the shoes that we provided for elderly guests with severe walking problems.  One World War II Navy veteran regularly walked backward down our steps and struggled with pain.  He was ecstatic to get shoes from us that relieved some pain and provided good arch support.  Another woman who suffered severe leg pain was delighted and smiled wide when she got good shoes from us.  The experience has made me rethink how much I will pay for shoes–first for my good, and secondly for shoes I might buy for others.

I have thought about the guests who arrive in cars.  Most of those who come in cars live in the cars.  They struggle to keep up their car/homes.

For those who have homes, there are a variety of responses.  Some of our elderly guests and some young families struggle to keep those homes and buy groceries.

But I have most often thought of the poor who come because they are also lonely.  I believe Jesus guided us to be with them.  It is an important ministry that we may need to expand and add.

Today, I am especially thinking about healing those who are lonely. It has been an important part of my Lenten journey.  I hear the call to serve the lonely.  They ail.  We heal them some by our presence.

Today, I read an article in Time that supports the importance of healing for the lonely.  Why Loneliness Matters highlights a paper from Brigham Young University.  Time opens its article:

“Loneliness kills. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Brigham Young University researchers who say they are sounding the alarm on what could be the next big public-health issue, on par with obesity and substance abuse.

“The subjective feeling of loneliness increases risk of death by 26%, according to the new study in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Social isolation — or lacking social connection — and living alone were found to be even more devastating to a person’s health than feeling lonely, respectively increasing mortality risk by 29% and 32%.”

I was moved by this statement:  “Holt-Lunstad says that maintaining meaningful and close relationships, as well as a “diverse set of social connections” is key. Policy interventions for loneliness may be more difficult to imagine but could range from encouraging doctors to identify at-risk patients to rethinking the way neighborhoods are designed, Holt-Lunstad says.

“People’s response is oftentimes to say, ‘What are you going to do, tell everybody to give someone a hug?’” she says. “But there are many potential ways in which this could be implemented.”

A lesson for me these past years has been to listen.  Simply be present and listen!

 

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Anticipating Green


I recalled this summer poem, as I am staying home with a bit of a bug this Friday.

Peace!

Peace! (Photo credit: aldrin_muya)

In morning devotion in July 2013:

At Peace Now

At peace this bright July morning,
Green grass as deep green and fragrant as I can recall,
The sky clear and welcoming me,
The lake crystalline and deep azure,
I fear nothing today.
At peace this beautiful day,
Cardinals speaking calmly across my garden,
Mosquitoes away from me,
The air crisp and warm, dry on my face and neck,
I am filled with my master today,
Open,
Listening;
I am at peace now.
I look ahead and see things that take my breath away;
Gems and pearls shine in the sun,
But never impress me.
It is the master alone.
Precious metals never move me.
I have heard a voice say,
“Blessed are those who die in the Master.”
I am at peace.
The doors are open,
And the path is clear.
I am at peace now.

© Tom Bolton, Milwaukee, July 15, 2013

Contemplating Revelation

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Let Anger Melt


Tom Bolton:

a reminder I have needed lately,

Originally posted on Hopeful:

Society Finches Society Finches (Photo credit: dog.happy.art)

LET ANGER MELT

The anger swelled and amazed me twice these days,
And I was blind.
Anger is right sometimes.
But now let it go.
Let me see each way and each one.

(c) Tom Bolton, Milwaukee, 3 June 2013

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