Then Lifted


800px-olive_tree_at_the_bosque_de_los_ausentes_parque_del_buen_retiro_madridReading Psalm 52

           Estranged, then Lifted

As David, angry, and yet aware of
flourishing olive trees–fruitful and beautiful!
These sinners around me,
and of me, are big shots, boasting
in our own minds.
The saints are here too,
laughing,
joyous and aware too.
There is always evil,
in high places and in my places too,
and I would look beyond it–
at flourishing trees,
green shoots and pure blossoms.
In the beauty of the orchards,
and in the blossoming groves,
we will share laughter, and joy,
and He will lift us up.
Joy in His Word!
We are away from the pits,
out of the trenches laced for righteous,
snares and pits now for the evil.
We hear His word
and we flourish this day.

© Tom Bolton, Milwaukee, December 7, 2015

Young Father Holding His Young Son (4-6)

 

Advent Devotions:

Advent: Mysterious Love

Mystery Anew

Mysterious Piety

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From Sin


Upon studying Genesis 11:

verse

                              Sin

Proud, alert, important, in charge,
in control,
I am me, alone, lost.
A creator, a builder, a survivor,
I too am a destroyer,
lost, alone, and proud still.
Why am I so sad?
Why am I so troubled?
Let me place my faith in God once more,
my savior, my personal anchor, my love,
in my beginnings, as created,
so sound, so safe, so joyous.
And quickly so violent, so pained, so
disobedient.
Let me share the dish, the rightful fruit,
righteous and sustained.
Adamah, the earth suffers, and alone, as
Adam once, we cannot heal it.
Restore me.
Lift me gently.
May I yet be innocent! May I be yet in covenant!
Yet in chaos, in this world proud,
I would find again His grace.
Another chance!
Joy in the Word!

(c) Tom Bolton, December 7, 2015, downtown

 

Advent Devotions:

Advent: Mysterious Love

Mystery Anew

Mysterious Piety

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Generations


Genesis 26:18 and Deut. 6:6-9

WORD

                 Continuity

I would re-dig the wells in this day,

and renew the covenant in this way.

Covenant waters, clogged and war-polluted,

I seek the waters for me and for mine.

Contention, Enmity, Broad Places,

and Well-of-the-Oath,

I  would affirm again the faith.

The covenant becomes personal–now as then.

Let this new well become a shrine of

Peace and Promise.

Remember!

I will share the stories,

I will share the faith, and

the reality will pass with the history.

We will observe the stories around the well.

Keep these words too,

Recite them, share them, listen to them,

Be open to them.

Fix these faith Words firmly upon you.

Hear them and listen with all parts–

with ears, and eyes, and mind and soul.

Be here in the truth,

and listen to the Word,

gurgling up from re-dug wells.

I am renewed and made pure in this water.

(c) Tom Bolton, December 7, 2015, Milwaukee

                   Advent Devotions:

Advent: Mysterious Love

Mystery Anew

Mysterious Piety

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Anticipating Advent


A D V E N T   2 0 1 4:     D E V O T I O N S   T O   O U R   G O D   I N   T H E   M A N G E R

Jesus

Week 1    Stay Awake

Hard Waiting

I want to crack open the best fruit today,
but the new shoot on which it will perch has just started up.
As before, I am seeking wisdom, knowledge;
as a boy, I seek a mighty counselor,
Abba, strong and sure.
Impatiently, I wait.
I see the green fruit, ripe and luscious,
and I am almost deceived,
disappointed, alone.
I do not do well to do without,
but I know to wait now.
My questions are deep, barely-formed,
and I am anxious anew.
I seek new rooms, new places,
new relationship,
and I wait.
Anxiously, I seek to crack open new fruit.
My Christmas stocking is there, still empty.

Fruit Platter

Fruit Platter (Photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick)

(c) Tom Bolton, 2 December 2013, Downtown

I expanded my Advent Devotional in 2014, and have been working on re-editing and publishing a hard copy.  It looks like it will be distributed in October 2016.

 

In 2015, my Advent Devotions will be focused on Repentance and then two weeks on Joy.

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Ongoing Mission


Janjay K. Innis is a missionary with Global Ministries serving as an advocate for young adult mission service in the Missionary Services unit of the agency. She is a former US-2 missionary, and was commissioned to her present work in October 2015. You can read her original blog post here.

I love the US-2 Missionary program
Yo may learn much more from Janjay Innis at the blog- See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2015/october/1016missioncontinues#sthash.xj7hhK44.dpuf

Among other things, she says, “In mission I was chastised for speaking about justice, because people were not prepared to hear them. This frustrated me and was painful because I believe that even if our lived realities are not the same, we, especially as people of faith, should be able to at least hear our neighbors speak about what keeps them from abundant life. This pain led me to wonder if there was room for me in ministry. I could not fathom having to convince people of faith to care about the things that break God’s heart. I was clinically diagnosed as borderline depressed, physically drained and was ready to abandon my faith. –

Still hanging on by thread, I went on a spiritual pilgrimage with my home conference, the New England Conference, to the Taize Community in France.

I recommend the blog

Help us spread the good news that is Generation Transformation. – See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2015/october/1016missioncontinues#sthash.xj7hhK44.dpuf

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To Heal


Repeating from March 2015:

cross

Reading Isaiah 53:5

Scourged To Heal

Near lictors, nauseated and sweating,
we seek to know our ailing, to confess our place,
and there to seek wellness.
The scourge, so devious, so malevolent,
made most evil by man, is
laid upon His tender body, and we feel each lashing in
ways barely known.
We see Him new each time.
Wet and lacerated, in red risen welts,
there is pain and healing found.
Bound, the way to freedom, and beaten fiercely,
He suffers before me,
before my soul, my weeping presence,
and I will be healed.
In fairness, torn apart, and purity
set aside in bloody flesh,
we are there, and aware,
barely alone in absolute agony,
in community, yet alone.
And the love grows inside,
healing the body, the spirit, the me.
He heals; scourged, He loves.
We are healed each day.
The sharpest scourge breaks the heart,
and in that broken place, there is fresh healing.

–Tom Bolton, 31 March 2015, Bay View

 

 

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Today’s Bread


This has been a favorite over the years:

Manna in My Life

Not so hungry in my belly, I still love
My morning manna.
Some mornings I put nut spread on my matzoh,
and taste and texture combine to thrill me.
And better than hard rolls in the morning,
We are made to be the yeast to raise the bread.
When the flour is whole and coarse and real,
The yeast works wonders in the bread.

Not so hungry in my belly,
Still I hunger in the morning.
The Word fills me in ways I feel deep in me.
Deep in me, my health surges.
Deep in my gray matter, my thoughts are vital.
Deep in my soul, I am eternal.
I am blessed to be filled each day.
Thank you for my daily bread.

(c) Tom Bolton, April 24, 2012, Milwaukee

On reading John 6

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