Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hands Lifted in Worship

Photo credit: pinterest.ch

HALLELUJAH HANDS

“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer,
without anger or disputing.” 1 Timothy 2:8 NIV

Some lift one
others, both
chest-high, chin high
Some reach upward
ceilingward, skyward
stretching Heavenward
reaching for
His hem

Soft young graceful hands
with squared airbrushed fingertips
Pudgy, fidgety, child hands
copying his daddy hands
Brown hands, pale hands
old bulging vein hands
Just plain hands
hands with bands
hands flashing rings
stones sparkling
Calloused hands, splintered hands
rough, red dishpan hands
Cold hands, warm hands
peanut butter and jelly hands
Salon hands
nails lacquered red
rose pink or pearly

Tambourine shaking
banner waving
clap clapping
Bible clutching
baby holding
tear wiping
clenching, wrenching
God beseeching hands

Hands clasping the hand
of another
hands signing praise
for ears that cannot hear
hands folded
serenely in a lap

All beautiful
all holy
all His children’s
hallelujah hands


Maude Carolan

Sunday, April 8, 2018

New Birth/Metamorphosis

Photo credit: school-trinitydowntown.com.gif

METAMORPHOSIS

Once I was a caterpillar, dwelling upon the earth,
Crawling along day by day, adept at feigning mirth.
I only knew the earthy life, I thought that that was it;
I took what terra firma gave, the pleasures and the grit.
There was no beauty in me.  No one ever looked here twice,
Few cared if I were evil, no one knew if I were nice.
I was only concerned with myself, what the earth could give,
Yet, inside I was sensing a far better way to live.
Instinct led me to spin a thread and weave a neat cocoon;
I became a living mummy, wrapped tight within my tomb.
What was happening to me?  I tried to kick and shout,
“Help me!  Open up this thing!  I want to get right out!”
No one heard and I was powerless, so I went to sleep,
Not knowing what was ahead of me, feeling something deep.
I don’t know how much time went by within my tiny tomb,
But sensed that I was being changed, as one inside a womb.
Finally, instinct worked in me.  There was a sudden urge
To break out of my chrysalis and from the dark emerge.
Somehow, I then received the strength to burst my being free;
Alas, the golden Light broke through and there was a new me!
I took some time to understand, some time to wonder why,
Then I just shook myself a bit and I began to fly!
And `lo, I was so beautiful, and `lo, I saw the sun...
Oh, after living on the earth, soaring was great fun!
A wretched worm was I no more, I knew that that was true,
I was reborn and I became a creation wholly new!
A butterfly!  A butterfly!  I received my wings,
Glorious splendors of the Heavens, all the higher things.
All old things have passed away, they’ll never come again;
I’ve set my mind on things above, on these I will attend.
Now, even when I swoop to earth and walk upon the ground,
I’ll never be a worm again...I’m Butterfly...glory bound!
Praise God for metamorphosis, it’s by His loving grace
That I’m a new creation now, and I shall see His Face.

Maude Carolan

Saturday, March 31, 2018

He is Risen...Alleluia!

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

Happy Resurrection Day!
Alleluia!!!

Image credit: virtueonline.org
RISEN

It’s Holy Saturday

Dough is rising
on the kitchen counter

filling me with thoughts
of rising

helium balloons
set free

sunrise
over the Sea of Galilee

waking up

rising

soap bubbles
floating skyward

seagulls soaring

fireworks
booming and bursting

jet planes at take-off

rocket ships
with long trails of fire
zooming to the moon

O, but nothing

nowhere

and no one

has ever done it

or will

…like Jesus

Maude Carolan Pych

God Loves Us--John 3:16

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

The following is a poem that I wrote recently.
It's about John 3:16,
the Bible verse that has been called,
"The Gospel in a nutshell."
Image credit: Fine Art America



GOD’S UNFATHOMABLE LOVE
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB

For God—
The Majestic Almighty, Omnipotent, King of Kings
Ancient of Days, Elohim, Adonai
my beloved Abba Father

so loved—
with the bigness of His gracious agape heart
a love unfathomable, unconditional
and abounding in mercy

the world—
the whole wide world and everyone in it
in Israel, Jordan, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, China
in Ireland and Italy, where my ancestors came from
in HochHausen, Germany, where loved ones reside
where we’ve been on vacation, Aruba, and Bermuda
and all of us right here, in Wayne, New Jersey

that He gave His only begotten Son—
given to us, freely, our Father’s extraordinary gift of Yeshua/Jesus
His sinless Son, to save us from the punishment we deserve
for sins we have committed

that whoever believes in Him—
so all we need do to receive this wondrous gift
is believe God’s trustworthy Word
believe that Jesus was born into the world
and that He is our promised Savior

shall not perish—
because of Jesus’ sacrifice upon Calvary’s Tree
and because His Most Precious Blood atoned for all our sins
death has been swallowed up in victory!

but have eternal life—
because of Jesus’ miraculous Resurrection from death
we live because He lives
and will dwell with Him
in the Kingdom of Heaven
to enjoy unimaginable splendors
forever…forevermore

Praise the Lord!


Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, March 30, 2018

Remembering Good Fridays

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: latintimes.com


REMEMBERING GOOD FRIDAYS

When I was a young girl, back in the 50’s
my grandmother said
there should be no talking on Good Friday
between the hours of one and three

no running around, no radio and no TV
all out of respect for our Savior
Who suffered and died
upon the Cross at Calvary

so try though I did to be silent and still
I was as fidgety, squirmy and irksome
as any healthy active kid would be
who had not yet grasped
the profound depth of what happened
that terrible good day when Jesus died

and in the 70’s when my own children
were young and restless
I would bring them to church
during the very same hours Grandma decreed
to venerate the Holy Cross
We’d approach the altar
where the Crucifix was displayed
kneel down and kiss the nail pierced feet of Jesus
or solemnly watch a reenactment of the Passion
by the youth group

Now, so many years later
now that I am a grandmother myself
I sit without fidgeting and fumbling
willingly turn off the radio and the TV
and carve out meaningful time to meditate
upon all my precious Lord endured
to save me from my sins

Sometimes I sing
“Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”
Sometimes I weep
and sometimes, like today, I write a poem

Always, Jesus’ great sacrifice breaks my heart
and always, looking ahead
to the astonishing empty tomb
I’m reminded of the Hallelujah Hope
I have in Him—which is eternal

Grandma would be so pleased

Maude Carolan Pych

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Passover Lamb

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: natsab.com
THE PASSOVER LAMB

Abba went into the sheepfold to choose a spotless lamb,
as Moses gave instructions that he got from the I Am.

Our lamb, indeed, was spotless, so I named him Wooly Bright;
we brought him inside to live with us, morning, noon and night.

I ran my fingers through his coat and fed him from my hand,
I put fresh water in his trough; he’s the best lamb in the land!

Today he’ll be our sacrifice. Moses said this must be done.
He must die that I may live, for I’m a firstborn son.

We’ve been oppressed by slavery; Pharaoh will not let us go,
but God’s mighty arm will save us. We’ll watch His power flow.

Moses told us, take lamb’s blood, and brush it on the lintel
then we will be protected; it almost sounds too simple.

Tonight we will leave Egypt and journey far from home,
but I’ll remember Wooly Bright wherever I may roam.


Someday the world will see in this, God’s salvation plan;
God’s Son will be the sacrifice, the great Passover Lamb!

For as God will use blood of lambs to set His people free,
the precious Blood of Jesus will save sinners…you and me.

Maude Carolan Pych

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unleavened Bread

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

Photo credit: holidays.net

EXTRAORDINARY MATZOH

It’s only ordinary unleavened bread
Ordinary matzoh
On an earthen plate
It probably came
From a supermarket shelf
A Manischewitz box
Ordinary matzoh
Blessed for Passover
Oh, but when I take it
And cradle it lovingly
In my hands
Break it and bless it
It is for me
Most Holy Bread
Good Friday Bread
Body of the Lamb that was slain
With my cup of Redemption
Communion Bread
Lechem without hametz
Without yeast of sin
Pierced
Striped
Bruised
Shrouded afikomen
Hidden
Then resurrected
With glory
I partake
Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Maude Carolan

This poem has been published in William W. Francis’ book, Celebrate the Feasts of The Lord. Crest Books.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Grafted In

Passover begins this week on Good Friday.
At my congregation, Beth Israel Worship Center, Wayne, NJ,
we observe both...

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day


I’M NOT JEWISH

except that the sap
which rises
from sturdy old olive roots
flows through the veins
of this grafted branch

I’m not Jewish
except for my flesh
which still shudders
at the Shoah
 (of sisters and brothers
of the natural branch)
and the same root
and swears
I’d have done something...
something

I’m not Jewish
except for my feet
which have walked
the holy, well-worn pathways
in Eretz Yisrael

except for my fingertips
which pressed petitions
between stones
of the Western Wall

except for my ears
which perk to the cantor’s
chanting of the Shema
the Aaronic Benediction
the Kiddush
over bread and wine

except for my eyes
which look
upon the Lamb,
my Atonement

except for my lips
which chant
ancient baruchas
to HaShem

I’m not Jewish
except for my heart
which bears the cloven mark
of circumcision

and loves Yeshua,
the Jewish Messiah
Who was pierced
for my transgressions
Who shed
His precious Jewish Blood
for me


Maude Carolan

The above poem won an award a few years ago at the annual St. Catherine of Bologna Art, Photography & Poetry Exhibition in Ringwood, NJ.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Dungeon

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

When I was in Israel
we went to see the dungeon
beneath the house of Caiaphas...

Photo credit: catholicpilgrimsinisrael.blogspot.com

Photo credit: pinterest.com


THE DUNGEON
Israel Pilgrimage—2006

There is a pit
beneath the House of Caiaphas
a once dark, dismal, terrifying hole
into which prisoners
were lowered by ropes
under their armpits

Our Lord Jesus likely
was brought here directly
from the Garden of Gethsemane
on the night He was betrayed by Judas

The scene seems less horrific today
than when I was here in 1986
Then, it was easier to imagine
a terrifying incarceration
of a prisoner, especially
an innocent prisoner, alone
amid ominous dampness and vermin
in the very bowels of the earth

The pit is located beneath a church—
The Church of Saint Peter of Gallicantu
(of the cock’s crow)
named for where in the courtyard
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times

It’s been spiffed-up—
It’s brighter. The descent, easier
It’s not nearly as dismal

but, back in eighty-six
as Wayne Monbleau read Psalm 22
in that detestable dungeon

…they pierced
my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones…[1]

I closed my eyes, and literally
trembled…trembled…trembled
imagining how terribly Jesus suffered
to wash my sins away

Maude Carolan Pych





[1] Psalm 22:17-18 NASB

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Pieta

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: italianways.com



THE PIETA

After the earthquake
the peals of thunder
the flashes of lightning across the sky
After the curious crowds dispersed
Mary sat in the ominous dimness
upon a mound of earth
at the base of the Cross
holding the body
of her Son

She cradled Him
in the hollow of her lap
close to her bosom
as she had
when he was
her baby boy

Mary removed
thorns of mockery
that encircled His forehead
and tossed it to the side
Straining to see in the shadows
she carefully picked
fragments of thorn needles
still stuck in His lifeless flesh
although they couldn’t hurt Him
any longer

With her fingertips
she tenderly closed the lids
over His dark, vacant eyes
and smoothed
the disheveled, matted hair
…then she kissed Him

O, my beautiful Son…

Tears flowed
down her face onto His cheeks
mingling with dried blood
With the edge of her garment
she wiped some blood away

John came
and rested his hand
upon her trembling shoulder
He was now her son
She was now his mother

Mysteries
too deep to comprehend
swirled in her mind
like the flap and flutter
of wings and overshadowing
Son of the Most High
and David’s throne

like pregnant Elizabeth’s joy
when the baby leapt in her womb
and the Baptizer himself, when grown
proclaiming his younger cousin
“The Lamb of God, Who
takes away the sin of the world”

and Simeon’s prophesy
that Jesus would be
a Light of revelation
to the Gentiles and the glory
of the people of Israel

Where is the Light?
Where is the glory?
Where is the throne?

Overwhelmed by sorrow
so intense it stabbed her
deep, deep in her inner parts
Mary cried out in anguish
and rent her robe

Was this what old Simeon meant
long ago in the Temple
when he held Jesus in his arms
and said a sword would pierce
my very soul?

O my Son, my beautiful Son…

I cannot fathom the ways of God, but

I do know this cannot be the end

Maude Carolan Pych

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Wonders in the Sky

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

I drove down Osborne Terrace yesterday evening
and was reminded of the amazing red sky
over Packanack Lake, four years ago...
Photo credit: redbubble.com



BLOOD SKY—
Good Friday 2014, Packanack Lake, New Jersey
“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Joel 2:30-31 NASB

The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., Tuesday
We went outdoors to gaze at the sky
hoping to get a glimpse
of the first blood moon of the tetrad—
Passover, 2014

It was there, but we couldn’t see it
Dense clouds obscured our view

Blood moon or not, this week is crimson—
I’ve been thinking about blood in the Nile
blood on the lintels
death of the firstborn sons

I bought blood oranges in Fairway, yesterday
Had one for breakfast. It was sweet

Today is Good Friday—
I am meditating upon the atonement
the Cross, the death of my Savior

Now it’s evening—
I’m on my way to the Good Friday service
at the Jerusalem Center in Wayne
As I drive down Osborne Terrace
approaching Packanack Lake
the sky is incredible—amazing—red as blood
fiery red, red like I’ve never seen it before

As the setting sun shines on the still water
the lake mirrors the brilliant crimson firmament
and I can’t help thinking of old Moses
as he dipped his staff into the Nile river

At the Jerusalem Center, the dancers
fittingly extol the Lamb Who was slain, and
Jonathan speaks of the sun setting and rising—
endings and beginnings

and I feel God may be telling me something, or
am I so deeply aware of Him this holy week
that I see Him everywhere
and in every blessed thing

Maude Carolan Pych