Sunday, November 24, 2013

GOLGOTHA: The Place of the Skull

The Place of the Skull

“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 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
The pilgrims from Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, NJ, have returned from walking in the footsteps of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. The final stop on their itinerary was the Garden Tomb near Golgotha.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blow a Shofar in Zion

Blowing a shofar in Zion

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

Marco bought a shofar in Galilee—
a long and spiraled Yemenite shofar
made from the horn
of a kudo antelope

With a deep and steady breath
Marco blasts its harrowing thunder
over the Mount of Olives
the Western Wall
the Jordan River
and just about every site
we visit in holy Zion

trumpeting its long distinctive wail
to jolt us from our complacency—

Wake up!

Warning all hearers:

Prepare! Repent!

Wake up! Oh Sleepers—
Wake up! and follow the Lord!

Anne brought her tambourine
from New Jersey—
It’s shaped like a Star of David
Colorful ribbons stream
from its six points

Like Miriam, Anne lifts it high
and dances with delight
praising Adonai with worshipful women
from all over the world
Their swirling skirts sweep the ground
It’s Shabbat, in Jerusalem
at the Western Wall

and I bought a tallit in Tiberius—
blue and white like the Israeli flag
with knotted fringes in the corners
to remind me God’s promises are true

a traditional prayer shawl
to wrap snuggly around my shoulders
like God’s strong and loving arms
enfolding me
as I pray

Maude Carolan Pych

Four to five hundred pilgrims from Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, NJ, continue to tour the Holy Land with Rabbi Jonathan. I'm sure they'll all be so mightily blessed that they'll never be the same.The above poem was written following my last pilgrimage and is one my series of poems of pilgrimage. If you'd like to read more, go to the Blog Archive on the right and click on September, October and November or scroll to the end for information about ordering my chapbook, "A Pilgrim's Quest".

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Jewel of the Whole Earth

View from Mount Scopus, Jerusalem

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

It’s nighttime—
We arrive at Mount Scopus
overlooking Yerushalayim[1]
The stars glimmer
in the heavens
and The City is lit up
like the jewel of all the earth

Wishful, I want
there to be fireworks
want the surroundings
to express the excitement
stirring inside of me—
Suddenly, I hear fireworks
boom, boom, booming
although I cannot see
their luminous splendors
bursting in the sky

We partake of the fruit
of the vine—
our cup of blessing
as we prepare to enter in

Our rabbi prays
for the peace of Jerusalem
prays the Shema[2]
prays the Shehekianu[3]
covers his head
with a magnificent tallit[4]
embellished with
the Star of David and the Lamb
He lifts his hands and prays
the Aaronic Benediction

Our joy cannot be contained—
This is the City of Our Great King

I watch a tear
trickle down
my rabbi’s face

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Jerusalem
[2] The central prayer in the Jewish prayerbook (Siddur)
[3] A common Jewish prayer to celebrate special occasions
[4] prayer shawl

For details about ordering my little book of poems about pilgrimage, scroll to the end of the blog.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Virtual Visit to the Springs of Engedi

The Springs of Engedi

Israel Pilgrimage--2006

We stop briefly
at a verdant oasis
in the wilderness—
the Springs of Engedi
where long ago in a cave nearby
David spared the life of Saul

A crystalline waterfall descends
from high above our heads
into a sparkling pool at our feet

Our rabbi tells us
deer and ibex
hyrax and rock badgers
roam these hills
and that in the shade
of the caves
psalmists of old
likely scrawled
timeless verses

My mind’s eye
envisions a son of Korah
sitting upon a rock
at the mouth of a cave
ministering unto the Lord
on a hot day—

Suddenly a thirsty deer
appears and begins
lapping cool, refreshing water
from the stream—
          hence, Psalm 42

As the deer pants
for the water brooks,
So my soul pants
for You, O God…

We begin to sing the psalm—
our own souls thirsting
for the Living God
of the ages

as our eyes dart about
searching for deer or ibex

or a snippet
of Saul’s garment
shorn by the blade
of David’s swift sword

Maude Carolan Pych

Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn will be leading a holy land pilgrimage, which will begin this week. I pray that every pilgrim will have a deeply heart moving, even life changing experience in The Land.

I have self-published a chapbook of poems about pilgrimage. It is titled, "A Pilgrim's Quest". Scroll to the bottom of this blog for ordering information.