Sunday, July 16, 2017

Baptized Where Jesus Was Baptized

Pilgrims waiting to be baptized
in the Jordan River

AT THE JORDAN RIVER
Israel Pilgrimage—1987

The pilgrims line up
at the popular baptismal site
on the banks of the Jordan
donned in flowing white robes
rented from a vendor
on the way in

One by one our rabbi[1]
listens to words of testimony
and dips each believer backward
as their brothers and sisters
sing softly on the shore

After they emerge
washed clean in that murky old river
they shed their rented robes
and are funneled through
a narrow aisle
where souvenir bottles
of Jordan River water
where olive wood sheep
and olive wood shepherds
tee shirts and postcards
and holy this and blessed that
are offered—
for a price

Our driver hurries us along
beckons us to the bus
The motor’s running

Quick! Or you’ll miss the camel ride
through the wilderness tonight!

And despite renting and hawking
despite murky water
and tight tour agendas, we know
the sincere emersion
of each contrite sinner
has filled the heavens
with hallelujahs
this glorious day

Maude Carolan Pych


[1] Messianic Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn of Beth Israel Worship Center at the Jerusalem Center, Wayne, NJ.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Happiness is...A Bowl of Bings!!!

Photo by Maude


CHERRIES

July.  Bing season.
Shop-Rite displays a cart inside the entrance
brimming with thousands of tantalizing,
plump, succulent rubies,
only ninety-nine cents a pound, this week.

Pick one by its slim green stem,
pluck it deliciously through your teeth,
bite into its firm, smooth skin
into its luscious, juicy flesh.
Nibble around the cherrystone.

God could’ve sustained us with manna
and perhaps some quail,
but His bounty spreads before us
filling shelves and cases, aisle after aisle,
so commonplace, we hardly wonder at His generosity.

Maude Carolan

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, America!


Flashback...4th of July, 1984
Frederick Leo Harris, master crane operator
who removed the original torch from the Statue of Liberty
July 4, 1984


UNCLE FRED AND THE TORCH OF MISS LIBERTY
In memory of Frederick Leo Harris

Uncle Fred was an unassuming kind of guy—
a master crane operator who ran
a long-necked crane for Canger, Inc.
He never boasted about it
didn’t speak of the special skills required
or dangers or the scope
of projects he was working on

nor did we even think to ask
except perhaps to inquire, conversationally
about where he was working
It could have been Jersey
or New York or sometimes Pennsylvania
He just put on his work clothes each morning
put in his eight hours, and came home
to their three room apartment
in Paterson, every night for dinner

On the 4th of July in 1984
Uncle Fred was the engineer
chosen to remove the original torch
from the hand of Lady Liberty

That particular Independence Day
marked the start of restorations
on the Statue of Liberty, with completion
targeted for her 100th birthday, in 1986

I don’t recall our uncle telling us
about it in advance. If he had
we undoubtedly would’ve been there
with our young children
to witness his feat

He probably dressed for work that morning
just like every other day
had his coffee, drove into the city
got himself to Liberty Island
and quietly set about doing  
exactly what a master crane operator
would be expected to do

There was a special ceremony
that Independence Day
with pomp and circumstance
a brass band and dignitaries—

and in the cab of the tall crane
hunched over the controls
sat our Uncle Fred, confidently
doing what needed to be done
to expertly bring down the old torch

The honor bestowed upon him
was completely lost on our Aunt Carol—
She was at home and unhappy
because he had to work on the holiday
and therefore they had to miss out
on normal 4th of July festivities
like a parade or a cook-out or fireworks
When a news reporter called
to ask her some questions
she let him know exactly how she felt
and what she said was directly quoted
in the newspaper the following day

It wasn’t until she saw a picture of him
standing next to the old torch
on the front page of the Paterson News
that she realized the illustrious way
he spent the 4th. Suddenly
she became overcome with pride
and fussed over him to no end
even though, I’m certain, Uncle Fred
could easily have done without
anybody fussing over him, at all

The original torch is on permanent display
in the base of the Statue of Liberty
with a plaque telling of its removal
and the statue’s restoration that followed
It includes no mention of our uncle’s name
which, surely, would not have bothered him

but we know, and we’re proud
and this poem is written to keep
that special memory of him alive

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Welcome, Summer...

Here's a poem about my favorite spot at the Jersey Shore...

Photo credit: oceangrove-nj.com


OCEAN GROVE

Ocean Grove—
This tiny Christian community
comes to life in the summertime
Methodist. Camp Meeting.
Boxy tent houses
with colorful flower gardens
American flags and banners
surround The Great Auditorium
with its lighted Cross
facing the ocean

It’s just a mile square
Quiet. Subtle.
Not in-your-face-religion
although
church bell chimes
do break the quietude now and then
with a gentle reminder
and there’s a pavilion
on the boardwalk
where Gospel events take place
Folks can walk-in or walk by
and there’s a tabernacle
for morning worship
and solid Bible teaching
but it’s optional

Personally, the spiritual amenities
are what draw me
to this particular place
at the Jersey shore

What’s surprising
is that many vacationers come
not for the Bible Hour
not for the concerts
not to hear great preachers
from all over the world
not to worship in the great old edifice
with its magnificent pipe organ
not to sing hymns of antiquity
in fact, they come
not for the Gospel, at all

but for peace and quiet
for one square mile
of no hawking of tee shirts
and games of chance
roller coasters, carrousels
freak shows and body piercing
in fact, there’s nothing for sale
on the boardwalk
and no alcohol for sale
in the grove

No, they come
for a sandy beach
and ocean spray
quaint Victorians, B & Bs
curiosity shops on Main
and shady sidewalk dining
oh! and ice cream at Nagle’s or Day’s

and they know they can rely upon
good old fashioned
Ocean Grove wholesomeness
and Christian acceptance
even if they’re not necessarily
seeking the Christ of Christianity

…and to my way of thinking
miss out on the Best
this precious little gem
has to offer

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Poem About My Dad...

My husband and I were at Beth Israel Worship Center, this morning. Our pastor, Jonathan Cahn's Father's Day message was about Dad's, of course, and about God, who invites us to call Him, Abba, which means Daddy. How blessed we are to be encouraged to have so intimate, so loving, so trusting a relationship with our Heavenly Father, that He wants His children to call Him, Daddy...Abba.

Happy Father's Day!

Image credit: pinterest.com


THINKING ABOUT MY DAD
In memory of Frank H. Walsh ~ 1912-1985

I went to see The King’s Speech
the other night
This started me thinking about my father
who became a stutterer
as a result of nervousness derived
from his childhood battle
with crippling poliomyelitis

With child eyes
I never saw him crippled
though he walked with a pronounced limp
one leg being shorter than the other
He wore a heavy soled shoe
reinforced with steel with a metal brace
attached that extended up to his knee

I didn’t think of him as a stutterer either
though he had great difficulty
saying what he wanted to say
stammering over, over and over
trying to get the words to spring
from his tangled tongue

To me, he was just Dad
…ordinary Dad

Looking back now, I think of him
as extraordinary and tenacious
a “can-do” kind of father
…even an overcomer

Handicaps never seemed
to handicapped him
never kept him from doing
anything he set his mind to—

He wasn’t a builder, but
he built the house we grew up in
and a bungalow next door for Grandma
did all the plumbing, electrical work
installed the drywall, spackled, painted
built porches, set the sidewalks
climbed a ladder to the roof
He built a patio with an outdoor fireplace
and a cement wading pool, too
He erected a coop for chickens
which he raised from fertilized eggs
He slaughtered them
mom cleaned and we ate them
for Sunday dinner
He also plowed the backyard
and planted a big vegetable garden

You name it, he did it
and usually did it well

He sang “Heart of My Heart” and
“You Can Have Her, I Don’t Want Her,
She’s Too Fat for Me”
without any stammer at all
danced to a rollicking “Beer Barrel” polka
with his heavy shoe thumping the floor
and I’m told he even pedaled
his bike once, all the way up Skyline Drive

Dad took us on vacations every summer
usually tent camping at Bear Mountain
or the Adirondacks or Truro at Cape Cod
setting up camp and cots mostly himself

He built outboard motor boats,
Water Lily and Water Lily II
and a blue egg-shaped camper trailer
which he hitched to the back of our car

He brewed root beer
bottled it and we drank it
even though it was flat and fizz-less
and he brewed beer beer
I can still remember the smell
of it fermenting in a huge crock
in our spare room

To say he was remarkable
seems an understatement—
I only hope some of the stuff he was made of
has worked its way into the bones and marrow
into the blood and sinews
into the gray that matters
into our Walsh family genes

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Love Enough to Pray...

"...The effective prayer of a righteous man
can accomplish much."
James 5:16B NASB

Photo credit: thefederalist.com

WILL I LOVE ENOUGH TO PRAY?

Someone told me you’ve been ailing,
that the medication’s failing
to bring the healing that you seek.
You are scared and you’ve been crying,
you’re afraid that you are dying
and the faith you have is so weak.
I can tell you I sympathize,
even attempt to be quite wise,
cajole you and go on my way,
but the question of the hour
is will I turn my heel and cower
or will I love enough to pray?

A young man has just been sharing
that his wife is overbearing
and he can’t take it anymore.
He said he met a gal somewhere
and they are having an affair,
tossing his vows right out the door!
I may advise him to be strong,
say infidelity is wrong,
bring in a counselor today;
but the question that I ponder
is will I just weep and wonder,
or will I love enough to pray?

A close friend has been criticized
by a neighbor she despises.
Getting even is what she yearns.
She says she hates her in heart,
of forgiveness she’ll have no part.
Oh, how her words of anger burn!
I can attempt to intervene,
may even be the go-between,
tell them there is a better way.
I might speak of sin and leaven,
bellow, "Seventy times seven!"
but will I love enough to pray?

When a situation’s stormy,
I can seek Thee or ignore Thee,
use worldly wisdom come what may...
Though advice may have some merit,
I must look up, not to blur it;
mindful, there is a higher way.
Some will look at me quite oddly,
still, I must try something Godly…
I'll do it…love enough to pray!

Maude Carolan

Photo credit: livingthelife.com


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jubilee of the Reunification of Israel

A Modern Day Miracle...

Photo credit: breakingisraelnews.com

THE REUNIFICATION OF ISRAEL…JUBILEE!

I can almost hear the shofar’s wail
cutting through cries and cheers
that miraculous morning, fifty years ago
as the paratroopers
breached the Lion’s Gate
and Colonel Motta Gur exclaimed—

The Temple Mount is in our hands!
The Temple Mount is in our hands!

It was then Rabbi Goren prayed the Shehecheyanu[1]
He lifted the ram’s horn to his quivering lips
and blew

The sound resonated at the Western Wall
a sound, profoundly unforgettable
like the mighty voice of God

At that moment
the Jewish nation
by God’s orchestration
found itself victorious
in the face of astonishing odds
and the divided city became reunified

It was June 7, 1967—
Day Three of the Six Day War
when greatly outnumbered, the Jews
defeated the combined forces
of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan

Israelis soon flocked to pray at the Wall
for the first time in more than 2000 years
Christian holy sites were opened to Christians
and Muslim sites to Muslims

Now is the Jubilee! Hallelujah!
There is jubilation
in the streets of Yerushalayim[2]

and paeans of praise
rising up, up, up, like incense
before the throne of God

Maude Carolan Pych



[1] The Shehecheyanu blessing is a common Jewish prayer of thanks, said to celebrate special occasions.
[2] Yerushalayim is Hebrew for Jerusalem.