Sunday, April 11, 2021

Emmaus Road Reflections



Rest in Peace, Dear Laura...
 

Laura Boss, award-winning poet and author, my poetry mentor, encourager, and wonderfully kind-hearted human being, passed from this life on Friday. I've participated in numerous poetry workshops led by Laura over many years. She's had a profound influence on my poetry and I will miss her as long as I live.




 ALONG EMMAUS ROAD

Luke 24 & Isaiah 53 NASB

 

I’m sitting in the kitchen

with my Bible open

reading about the men

who were walking to Emmaus

the Sunday following the Crucifixion

 

thinking how bewildered they were

and dismayed that the one

they supposed was their savior was gone—

He died upon that Cross on Friday

leaving their hopes completely dashed

 

and I’m thinking about Jesus

joining them on their journey

as a complete stranger

bringing the hope of the Gospel

as He explained about Himself in the Tanakh

without revealing that they were actually walking

the seven miles to Emmaus

with their newly Resurrected Lord

 

I flip through the pages

and see Jesus handwritten in the margins

of the Old Testament, over and over

wherever I’ve discovered Him anew

and recall each exciting revelation

 

and imagine their amazement

as they listened to Jesus

revealing Himself as He spoke

about Moses and the Prophets

particularly when He came to the part

about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53

How exciting it had to have been to hear it

from the lips of the Suffering Servant, Himself—

 

Despised and forsaken

a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief

smitten of God and afflicted

pierced for our transgressions

crushed for our iniquities

by whose scourging we were healed

 

Who like a lamb was led to the slaughter

Who like a sheep, was silent before its shearers

 

assigned a grave with wicked men

but was with a rich man in death

 

He rendered Himself as a guilt offering

and God would prolong His days

 

Jesus…Jesus…Jesus

 

I visualize the men

clutching their burning hearts

 

When they reached their destination

they invited the stranger to stay with them

because the hour was late

 

and as they gathered around a table

to partake of an evening meal

Jesus lifted a loaf to bless—

 

Suddenly their eyes beheld

His nail-pierced hands!

 

and as He broke their humble bread

they recognized Him

 

In that instant Jesus vanished!

 

but the words He spoke

along the road that day

were permanently seared

upon their hearts

 

so they rose from the table

and hurried off that very hour

all the way back to Jerusalem, in the dark

to tell the disciples of all the wonders

that happened that remarkable day

 

Maude Carolan Pych

 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Along the Road to Emmaus

 After a festive and joyful Easter Sunday, Jesus' Resurrection is still on my mind. I have another poem to share, serendipitously, about Our Lord making an appearance to a couple of men as they walked along the road to Emmaus...


Image credit: gregolsen.com

THE EMMAUS TRIPTYCH

Luke 24:13-35

 

I. THE UNNAMED FRIEND

 

Cleopas and friend walked and talked

with lumbering gaits and downcast faces

shining hopes of sweet redemption

dashed and obliterated

 

They asked of each other the Why question

for if anyone had come to fill those old prophecies

surely it had seemed to be Him

that Jesus they'd come to know

through signs and wonders

that appeared to be miraculous

 

Their so-called Messiah had been crucified

was dead and gone. Yes, gone, gone, gone!

Even His cold dead body was missing

from the tomb that had been sealed—

 

He approached them

in the midst of their perplexity

on the road to Emmaus

He walked with them, talked with them

they even felt His fire

but didn't know who He was

 

and strange as that may seem

how often have I been

the unnamed friend of Cleopas?

I, too, profess to know Him, know Him well

yet fail to recognize Him along the road

 

II. THE STRANGER

 

Taking the barley loaf in his hands

the stranger lifted it

 

Baruch ata Adonai

Eloheynu Melech ha Olam

ha motzie lechem

min ha'aretz

 

He tore it, offered it, and just as it fell

into reaching grasps

their astonished eyes recognized Him

and in that instant

He utterly vanished from their sight!

 

Leaping from the table, Cleopas and his friend

stumbled over each other

looking under, over, around, and around

knowing even as they did

it was True after all

 

As they looked at each other

their disbelief became relief

the sweet awakening of a deep Belief

 

for Truth visited them along the way

joined them at their table, broke their humble bread

They asked each other

 

Were not our hearts burning

as He talked with us on the road

and opened the Scriptures to us?

 

Now, blazing temples of Holy Fire

they suddenly knew their once shattered hearts

would never cool again

 

III. MY EMMAUS

 

When I first found You, or You found me

I thought I'd go from strength to strength

pinnacle to pinnacle, joy to joy

and so it was for a season

when love was new

 

then the whirlwind came

thrashing through my world

upending all my securities

leaving me stunned, broken, alone

certain I would die

 

so I waited for You to save me

waited for prayers pleaded at Your scarred feet

to avail their just reward

for I believed in You, trusted, hoped

Eyes veiled, I couldn't find You

failed to recognize You along the road

 

Had I believed in vain?

 

Then You began to speak

not audibly, but  whenever I opened Your Word

Radiance, Glory, Unfailing Love

sprang from the page and became manifest

My heart blazed! I began to shine!

 

Now, on the other side of sorrow

I dare not forget my burning heart,

Your Glorious Presence

so I abide, remembering

it is You, my Jesus

Who walks with me along the road

 

Maude Carolan


"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.maudecarolanpych.net




Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Resurrection Day!

 A-Poem-a-Day

Until Resurrection Day...


He is Risen!...Alleluia!!!

Here is a brand new poem for Easter, 2021:

"Mary Magdalene" by J. Kirk Richards
ldsliving.com

AT THE EMPTY TOMB

Holy Land Pilgrimage, 2006

 

Vivid recollections swirl through my mind

as I recall sitting on a bench

gazing across the garden

at the open tomb

the great rolling stone

off to the side

 

I’d been there before

so because we were a large

band of pilgrims and because

it was our final day

and we had a flight to catch

those who had been inside

the empty tomb

were asked to wait

meditatively, outside

 

As I waited, I thought

about the significance

of that holy place

 

thought of Joseph of Arimathea

offering His new rock-hewn tomb

for the burial, and Nicodemus

bringing a hundred pounds

of myrrh and aloes to anoint

the Crucified Body

 

thought of the Pharisees

imploring Pilate to secure the grave

so the Body couldn’t be stolen

therefore the tomb was sealed

and guards placed there overnight

 

Thought of Mary Magdalene

finding the tomb open the next morning

and being startled by an angelic appearance

but Jesus’ Body wasn’t there

and I envisioned her running to the disciples

then Peter and John racing

to the tomb, to see for themselves

if what Mary told them

was true

 

and of Jesus, meanwhile

appearing to two disciples

along the Road to Emmaus

of Him explaining

the Scriptures to them

as their enlightened hearts

burned with holy fire

 

and of course, I thought

of Mary returning to the tomb

and Jesus appearing to her

gloriously resurrected—

 

and later that same evening

appearing to His disciples

behind closed doors

revealing the wounds

in His hands, His feet, His side

 

The empty Garden Tomb—

 

without a doubt

the most astonishing place on earth

 

Maude Carolan Pych

Note: I just received notification that my poem, "I'm Shrinking!" has won an Editor's Choice award in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest. There will be an awards ceremony and reading in February and the poem will be included in an upcoming edition of the Paterson Literary Review.

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
by Maude Carolan Pych
is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
www.maudecarolanpych.net



Saturday, April 3, 2021

Meet Mary of Magdala...

A-Poem-a-Day

lphUntil Resurrection Day...

Image credit: christophercrandolph.wordpress.com


MARY OF MAGDALA

 

Mary of Magdala was privileged—

Like the disciples, she was among the few

who spent time with Jesus, followed Him

considered Him Teacher and Friend

She called Him, Rabboni

 

Mary had lived in darkness with demons

Jesus rid her of their terror

drew her into the Light

and she was grateful

She and the brethren experienced

the wonder of unconditional love

from He, Who personified it, perfectly

 

No doubt Mary was there

when Jesus spoke of things

the multitudes yearned to know

like living the beatitudes

like eternity, death, and resurrection

like the prophetic sign of Jonah

 

Still, neither she nor the disciples

had a clear understanding

of cosmic events that were about to unfold

 

Then suddenly everything whirled

out of their control

Palm branch homage

hosannas and hallelujahs

quickly turned to betrayal

abduction and a mockery of a trial

 

There were thunderous shouts of

 

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

 

It was no longer safe

on the streets of Jerusalem

for His followers. They became fearful

Some went into hiding

 

Then, Jesus was Crucified—

 

The earth quaked

and the sky went dark

 

Mary rent her garments and wailed

Full of sorrow, what could she do

except go early the day after the Sabbath

to anoint His dead body

 

but when she arrived at the tomb

It was empty and His body was gone

Angels were there—

resplendent angels, who spoke of resurrection

 

Mary was weeping, utterly bewildered

She couldn’t grasp resurrection—

All she could wonder was

Where was her teacher’s body?

Who took His body away?

 

Suddenly, Rabboni appeared to her

He called her, tenderly by name, but

she couldn’t comprehend

that Him standing there, speaking to her

could possibly be true—

He was dead. Wasn’t He?

 

Mary was struggling to fathom

that the greatest knowledge

ever to befall anyone, anytime, anywhere

befell upon her at that amazing moment

 

This wasn’t a time for weeping—

This was time for rejoicing!

 

She extended her hand to touch Him—

He was Alive! Breathing!

Warm! With flesh and bones—

Indeed, He had risen from the grave!

 

Jesus told her to tell His disciples

so Mary quickly hurried off, proclaiming

 

I have seen the Lord!

 

Oh! It was starting to sink in—

 

The sin of the world was atoned for

by Jesus’ death on the Cross

and by His glorious Resurrection

He became the Firstfruit

of Life Forevermore!

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Maude Carolan Pych



Here I am, at Barnes & Noble, Woodland Park, NJ,

happily holding a copy of my book,

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

For information about how to get your own copy

go to: www.maudecarolanpych.net.
 

Friday, April 2, 2021

"The Pieta"

 A-Poem-a-Day

Until Resurrection Day...

Image credit: excerptsofinri.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 ominous dimness

upon a mound of earth

at the base of the Cross

clutching 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


Would you like to read more poems

about the Birth, Death & Resurrection of Jesus,

at Eastertime, Christmastime, anytime?


"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.maudecarolanpych.net


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Death & Resurrection

 A-Poem-a-Day

Until Resurrection Day...


Golgotha

Image credit: tripadviser.co.za


THE PLACE OF THE SKULL[1]

“O death, where is your sting?” 1 Cor 15:55

 

Israel Pilgrimage—1987

 

We gather at the base

of a mountainous rock

into which time has carved

the natural image of a human skull

…hence, its chilling name:

Place of the Skull

 

Above this mound lies Golgotha

where on the most significant day

in the history of the world

Jesus of Nazareth was crucified

between two thieves

 

I stare into the hollow eyes

of this ominous image

and am reminded of Ezekiel

and the dry bones

 

bones that took on flesh

and blood and breath

and came to life

before his very eyes

 

Life.

 

Life is what happens at Golgotha

 

Life that is victorious

over the skull and bones. Victorious

over the ominous face of death

 

Life. Everlasting life—

for all atoned of sin

 

who believe

 

Maude Carolan Pych



[1] There are two locations worthy of serious consideration as the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, the traditional site lies within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the other is Gordon’s Calvary (Golgotha/The Place of the Skull) and the Garden Tomb. Ref. Grace Communion International


"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych


is available online
at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.maudecarolanpych.net



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

He Suffered Under Pontius Pilate

A-Poem-a-Day

 Until Resurrection Day...


PILATE’S IRONY

 

During my first pilgrimage to Israel

archeologist and guide, Micha Ashkenazi

took us to Caesarea to view a replica

of a piece of limestone

partially inscribed with the name Pontius Pilatus

 

Micha had been a member of the team

that unearthed the stone there

during a dig in 1961

 

It is the only evidence

of the historical existence

of the Roman governor

outside the New Testament

and writings of Josephus Flavius

 

Interesting, Pilate, who may have given

a modicum of credence to his wife’s warning

to have nothing to do with Jesus

did make an abysmal effort

to prevent the crucifixion

by setting Barabbas

before the riled multitude

 

When the crowd shouted to free Barabbas

and called for death to Jesus

their chants of

 

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

 

drummed in his ears

 

Pilate asked for a basin of water

He washed his hands in front of them—

as if water could possibly cleanse him

of responsibility for what would happen next

 

The irony is that even now

thousands of years hence

contempt for this man is as clear

as his name etched in stone—

 

for wherever believers gather

and proclaim their creed

 

Jesus…

 

suffered under Pontius Pilate

was crucified, dead and buried…

 

Pilate’s guilt is an indelible stain

that can never be

washed from our minds

 

Maude Carolan Pych



"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

by Maude Carolan Pych

is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.maudecarolanpych.net