Sunday, June 25, 2017

Welcome, Summer...

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

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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
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!

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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

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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

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jubilee of the Reunification of Israel

A Modern Day Miracle...

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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.