Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Think Jesus Laughed a Lot



Each of us has our own concept of Jesus—

As for me, I think He laughed a lot

Yes, I think Jesus threw his head back

with a wide winsome smile

and laughed heartily from the gut

and I think He did it often


I know it doesn’t say so in Scripture

but still, I imagine that the One

Who hung out with the twelve

shared some mighty amusing stories

around the campfire on starry summer evenings

I figure He even occasionally bore the brunt

of good natured razzing by the brethren

as they passed around roasted fish

and barley loaves on the shore of the Galilee


A guest at parties and weddings

Jesus was actually accused

of being a wine bibber and glutton

He wouldn’t have received

those kinds of invitations

and that kind of reputation

if He had been solemn and grim


and speaking of wine, I’m quite certain

no somber individual would have

turned H2O into the fruit of the vine

so a wedding feast could proceed

with expected merrymaking and

no embarrassment for the host


O I’m sure Jesus was great fun to be with—

that mothers handed their babies to Him

that He kissed them and blessed them

made funny faces, chucked their chins

and tickled their tummies

causing them to giggle and coo


I picture children climbing up on His lap

and being bounced on His knees

as He told stories about Jonah and Daniel

I’ll bet He even tossed a leather ball

back and forth with the neighborhood boys


and when someone approached Him

with despair and grief and longing

my mind’s eye sees Him

wrapping His arms around

the one in need—

turning sorrow into hope


O it’s true, Jesus got plenty stirred up

with righteous indignation

even knocked over vendor tables

in the Temple courts

and vented anger vehemently

at hypocritical Pharisees


but this was the world His Father created

and loved so much

that He sent Him here

to save


Yes, I’m sure He laughed a lot

in spite of the fact

the dreaded Cross stood before Him

because He knew His mission

and of the joy to come


Indeed, the joy

for what He would accomplish for us

was already in Him


Yes, Jesus knew there was a time to laugh

and a time for anger

as well as a time to weep


O, I am touched by His humanity—


No wonder I love Him


Maude Carolan Pych

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Weekend, Jersey Shore

The Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ



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 interruption

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
We just returned from a very pleasant weekend in Ocean Grove, NJ, where we listened to Tony Campolo preach on Sunday morning.
The Camp Meeting Association is currently trying to raise the funds needed to complete repairs to The Great Auditorium and the boardwalk, which were damaged during Super-Storm Sandy, last October.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Focusing Upon What Unites Believers



Some say

only Catholics get to Heaven,

some say

Protestants have the key.

Some debate sprinkling and immersing,

Virgin birth, saints, the 144,000, the Great Tribulation,

while others argue

infallibility of the Pope, Purgatory, Baptism of the Holy Spirit,

or whether Bread of Communion

becomes Flesh (with a capital F),

or is partaken in remembrance.

Some say

read only the King James,

others, the Douay-Rheims,

others, the N.I.V.

Some say

pray in tongues,

while others say it’s of the devil.

Some say

pray silently, reverently

with folded hands and nodded head.

Others say

shout, leap, dance with timbrels

and raise arms high in praise.

Some say

it’s impossible to be Jewish

and believe Jesus is Messiah,

sitting Shiva for those who do.


I’ve worshipped in all your churches,

sang “O Salutaris” in a cathedral

with a Cross gleaming above its towering steeple,

“How Great Thou Art” in a stone hillside chapel,

“Oh Happy Day” in a store-front on Main,

and “The S’hma” in a Messianic synagogue

with David’s Star and the Lamb

up front by the Bimah.

I’ve read Father Girzone’s, “Joshua”,

said “Amen!” as a radio evangelist

implored listeners

to focus upon what unites,

not what divides,

but most of all

I’ve sensed

the One who knows hearts well,


whispering ever so softly

into mine,


just love

one another.”


Maude Carolan
The above poem was previously published in "Sensations" magazine.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Alone With Jesus...

Ocean Grove (NJ) Beach

Alone, in the morning

except for gulls, pipers

and a few fishermen far out on the jetties

I walk along the shoreline

Fringes of waves

rhythmically roll over my sandy feet

as I worship You with quiet song—

The soft ocean rumble, my accompaniment


At rose-toned dusk

I stroll along a mountain path

lush in deepening shadows

Cognizant of my serenity,

I appreciate the harmony

designed into creation by You


Cozy in my bed

in the quiet moments before slumber meets me

my pre-sleep meditation is prayerful thanks

for the blessings that surround me, and

the giving heart of You.


Maude Carolan


This poem began with an early morning stroll along

Ocean Grove Beach, vacation's end, the summer of `94.