Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Crucifixion--I Have to Turn Away


I scan Google Images
looking for a depiction of the Crucifixion
to illustrate a Lenten poem on my blog
I’m unable to look squarely at the pictures—
Many are so heart-wrenching, so gruesome
I have to turn away

I think of the four Gospels
providing matter-of-fact statements
to tell us Jesus was crucified
sparing us details
of His suffering

Oh, I’m well aware
it is 2000 years later
and no holds are barred
when it comes to portrayals of violence
I go to the movies
I watch TV

I’ve squirmed through
The Passion of the Christ
with my heart beating fast
and eyes tightly closed
during the bloodiest sequences
I’ve read A Doctor at Calvary[1]
in which each and every stain
on the Shroud of Turin
is elaborated upon
in minute medical detail

I do not need
more graphic words and pictures
My mind’s eye sees
His thorn-crowned Head
His nail-pierced hands
My mind’s ear hears

Father, forgive them…

          …why hast Thou forsaken Me?

It is finished.

At last, I click on an image—
a crossbeam, a circle of thorns
and three nails

I post it to the blog
insert my poem

and shudder
a most grateful shudder
that Jesus, my beloved Savior
endured that terrible Cross
for me

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] A Doctor at Calvary by Pierre Barbet, M.D., published by Image Books, a division of Doubleday & Co., Inc., Garden City, NY

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Commemorating Passover/Last Supper

Photo Credit:

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

We realize this is not the actual place
where Messiah celebrated
the Passover with His disciples
on the night before He suffered
not the very place
where He took bread and broke it
took the cup and shared it
not the room in which He said:

Do this in remembrance of Me

but here we are in the Land
here we are in the relative vicinity
We know the actual Upper Room is long gone
but this is a room and it’s upstairs
as near as we can possibly get
besides, in the spirit                                                     
we are here, transported
so this is plenty good enough

We break into praise and worship
to celebrate the Passover meal
the taking of the towel
the washing of feet
the reclining at the table
the dipping of the bread
the very first communion
and Pentecost

The presence of the Spirit
falls so mightily upon us
we expect blazing tongues of fire
to tumble down from Heaven
and alight upon our heads

Maude Carolan Pych

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Atonement is in the Blood

As we draw near to Passover and Good Friday, I would like to share a poem that I wrote about an experience I had last year at this time...

Photo Credit:

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

Today is Good Friday
I am meditating upon the atonement
the Cross and death of the Savior

I bought blood oranges in Fairway, yesterday
Had one for breakfast

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 lake
the water mirrors the brilliant crimson firmament
and I think of old Moses
as he dipped his staff into the Nile river

At the Jerusalem Center, the dancers
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 us something, or
am I so strongly aware of Him this holy week
that I am seeing Him everywhere
and in every blessed thing

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's all about...THE LAMB--Vol 18, Issue 1

March 15, 2014
Vol. 18, Issue 1

It’s all about…The Lamb

Maude Carolan Pych/Quarterly Poetry Letter

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches
and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 
Rev 5:12 NASB

It’s all about…The Lamb is a quarterly publication for lovers of the Holy Lamb of God, who also enjoy poetry. The purpose is to magnify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and inspire an ever-deepening relationship with Him, the lover of our souls.

DURING THIS SEASON OF LENT as we approach the deep solemnity of Holy Week leading to the great crescendo of Resurrection Day, I’ve been posting poems twice weekly to my blog, to encourage contemplation of the passion of Jesus, His victorious Resurrection and all that means for us, the people for whom He died and rose.

To access the blog, “Maude’s Poems” go to:

This was a new experience for me. My poet/friend Elizabeth Marchitti and I, along with Mary Crosby of Ringwood, were invited to judge the poems that were entered in this year’s St. Catherine of Bologna Art, Photography & Poetry Exhibition. We carefully read each of the poems, then huddled together to negotiate which would be the winners.

My husband and I attended this splendid exhibition last night. We enjoyed the artwork, the photography, and especially the poetry reading. As always, it was well-attended, elegant and delightful.

A special shout out to Barbara Williams Hubbard (whose poems have appeared in this publication on occasion) for winning the third place award for her poem, “Massachusetts Morning.” Kudos to my friend, retired art teacher Patricia Ley, for winning the first place award for her mixed media (linoleum print collage) titled, “The Crowd”.

This is my favorite poetry workshop because people of a certain age have many life experiences to draw from, as well as a certain amount of expertise. Participation is lively and the work that is produced comes straight from the heart and the gut. The workshop is sponsored by the Poetry Center of Passaic County Community College and is being facilitated alternately by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Laura Boss.

I’m pleased to introduce you to Alexis Wilkerson. She’s a poet and member of my congregation, Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, NJ. In September, Alexis sent me some of her inspirational poems. One of them, titled, “Umbrella” made me think of showers and springtime and seems so right to share here and now, as we anticipate the sight of crocuses emerging through heaps of snow to signal winter’s swan song.

I asked Alexis to tell us about what led her to write poetry and what inspired the poem featured here. This is her reply: “My love and appreciation of poetry became evident at an early age with my aunt and grandmother often reading classic poetry to me. When I was in elementary school, I began writing poetry and enjoyed receiving recognition, in High School, when my English teacher included some of them in the school newspaper.

“The inspiration for ‘Umbrella’ was born out of peaceful, insightful moments spent alone with my savior, Jesus, and His gift of simple reminders in ordinary everyday things that He’s always lovingly caring for and protecting me, like the Great Shepherd only He can be.”

I perused through my collection of poems written during Lent in years past and selected one from 2002 to share here. It’s one of my favorites. “The Black Bronco” is about the way I spent Good Friday that year and how the Lord found a unique way to touch my spirit simply, yet profoundly.

+ + + THE POEMS FOLLOW + + +

Photo Credit:


Scurrying out the door
I turn and grab my umbrella, as I gaze up at smoky clouds
weighed down with rain drops and about to burst

Even in this seeming insignificance, Lord, You bring
bright thought, a heavenly “Post-it” to my heart and mind

You are my Covering
my Protection
my Provision
Your Presence is with me, in me always, wherever I go—
constant, steadfast, faithful

And, if this were not enough,
You cover me with Your holiness, Your righteousness
represented by my umbrella’s colorful brilliance!
So, no matter how sinister or overwhelming life’s storms become,
Your Shekinah Presence transforms every heartache,
every trial, every earthly horror
into beauty, even glory,

as You tenderly transform me into Your image

Alexis C. Wilkerson
© 2014


Good Friday, 2002

sad, somewhat guilty…
Usually I’d have found time
in the afternoon
to sit meditatively
and ponder the significance
of this day
Sometimes I wrote poems
or sat quietly in a church
I might have listened
to a radio preacher
or just sung, soulfully
about the house
that old, haunting hymn chorus
“Oh, how it causes me
to tremble…tremble…tremble”

Eased into the day, holy
with a long, tepid bath
and a little book
about six miracles of Calvary –
Began contemplating the darkness
that fell upon the land
for three hours

but after that
the cares of this world
sent me scurrying helter-skelter
scrubbing the kitchen floor
returning curtains to JC Penney
grocery shopping for Easter dinner
Any meaningful reflections faded
in my slide from Mary to Martha

Returning from an errand, edgy
I was stopped at a light
on Union Boulevard
Don’t know what kind of a car
was in front of me
but in front of that car
was a black Bronco

On back of the Bronco
black on black was
The Crucifixion
Jesus, dying
in utter darkness
His head bent
shoulders thrust forward
like so many paintings I’ve seen

What was this?

After a moment, I realized
it was merely a reflection
a silhouette cast by the shadow
of a telephone pole
and street lamp…
But it seemed real

I looked at the clock
It was 2:45

I drive up and down
Union Boulevard
day after day
year after year
but it was this day
this hour
this moment of need
He chose
to show me
yet again
all He did

for me

Maude Carolan
© 2002

Comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Look for the next edition of It’s all about…the Lamb, June 15, 2015.


Dear Reader/Subscriber,

I’ve often thought that the only reason I can bear the sorrow of Good Friday is because I know there will be a glorious Resurrection Sunday!…Jesus rose from the dead and that makes all the difference in the life of a believer!!!

Blessed be Jesus, our Risen Passover Lamb! Alleluia!

Remember...He loves ewe!


After God’s Own Heart Publishing
P.O. Box 2211, Woodland Park, NJ 07424

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Dark, Dismal Dungeon...

Photo Credit:

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

There is a pit
beneath the House of Caiphas
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
imagining how terribly Jesus suffered
to wash my sins away

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Psalm 22:17-18 NASB

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I Have an Idea...

Many years ago I began giving gifts of chocolate lambs, from our local chocolatier, instead of bunnies at Eastertime. I give to the adults as well as children. I place the lambs in pastel gift bags, add a pretty bow and tuck in an Easter poem as well. My family looks forward to receiving this sweet and meaningful gift each year. 

Here's a similar idea...perhaps an even better one!

Photo Credit:


It's a better idea than spring baskets,
with jelly beans, mallows and bows;
it's far better than flowery straw bonnets,
Mary Janes and brand new clothes,

a much better idea than bunnies and chicks,
eggs painted pink, purple, blue…
This time let us give our sweet children
an Easter present that'll ring true.

Let’s give a plush lamb, all spotless and pure
and tell them Jesus is its name…
Tell them Jesus is the Hope of the World
and Easter's the reason He came.

Tell them God's Son is sinless and meek
He's the unblemished Passover Lamb;
tell them He died on Calvary's Cross
to save sinners. He's the great I Am.

Tell them that on the first Easter morning
Lamb Jesus arose from the grave –
and that is why in their tiny hands
is the soft little lamb that you gave.

Tell them Lord Jesus loves them so much
that He wants to be their Best Friend.
Their little lamb will remind them of that
after Resurrection Day ends.

Tell them chocolate bunnies, bonnets and beans
are okay, but not the best part –
the best part of Easter is Jesus, the Lamb,
Who came to live in their hearts!

Maude Carolan

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's Friday...but Sunday's Comin'!

Photo Credit:


Twice I heard Tony Campolo deliver
his famous and rousing sermon
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’!
at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove
He drummed home the point
that everything may look bleak Friday, but…
come Sunday it’s a totally different story

Now, I’m not thinking of just any bleak Friday
I’m thinking about the original Good Friday—
thinking the only reason I can bear
to contemplate that good and terrible day
is because I know
three days later there was
a mind-blowing, miraculous Sunday—
…Resurrection Sunday!

The disciples didn’t have
the advantage I have—
They didn’t understand
life after death
couldn’t comprehend
atonement for sin
just didn’t get it
that their teacher and friend, Jesus
could die upon a cross
for the sins of the world
They didn’t know the future—
They didn’t have the Book
but, I do have the Book
and I’ve read ahead
a few pages
I know the sequel
to the Good Friday story
the victorious hope-giving
hallelujah happy ending
so I know my sins are forgiven
and that I’m going to live forevermore
Yes, I know what happened next
and that makes all the difference

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, March 1, 2015

We Walked Where Jesus Walked

Once you walk in the footsteps of Yeshua (Jesus), you'll never be the same again...

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

Twelve feet below
the hustle and bustle and hawking
the crowds, the spices, the wares
of the present Via Dolorosa
lies an ancient pathway
of trodden stones
Yeshua walked upon
in sandaled feet
on His way to Calvary
2000 years ago

ancient stones
stumbling stones
stones Yeshua, weak and weary
likely fell upon as He carried
the cumbersome crossbeam
along that terrible path
to Crucifixion

I remove a shoe
to feel the coolness
of hallowed ground
against my bare sole

We begin singing
Were You There When They
Crucified My Lord

and tremble
tremble, tremble
at the reading
of the Suffering Servant
in Isaiah 53

seem to disappear
It almost feels
like it’s happening here

There’s something
about it

isn’t there?

Maude Carolan Pych