Monday, July 31, 2017

Have You Been to Ocean Grove?

Summers are supposed to be slow and lazy,
but not this one, so far, for me...
I'm still waiting to slip away
to my favorite New Jersey beach town,
Ocean Grove.

Here's a poem about a few good reasons to go there:

Photo credit:


An hour and a world away
is a charming place we love to stay,
where time stands still a little while,
in fact, some call it, “God’s Square Mile.”

Our spiritual retreat vacation
at this gem within our nation
is where we find more than we seek,
at Ocean Grove, Camp Meeting Week.

The Great Auditorium’s surrounded
by quaint tent houses, abounded
by flower gardens, every hue;
coral, magenta, lavender blue.

Great preachers come from far and near,
expectant pilgrims come to hear
the preaching and angelic choir
as the great pipe organ sends its fire

of resounding music through the air,
inviting all who will to prayer.
All this takes place beside the sea
in a grove of sweet tranquility.

Stroll tented lanes in ocean breeze,
past tabernacle, B & Bs;
Victorian landmarks give a show
of “painted ladies” row on row.

Visit eateries, little stores
and take the garden trolley tour.
This Jersey shore town gives to each
respite, chapels, sandy beach,

a quiet boardwalk and pavilion,
where perhaps, more than a million
over the years have stopped and heard
Gospel concerts and God’s good Word.

So come, find more than you may seek
at Ocean Grove, Camp Meeting Week.

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I Think Jesus Laughed a Lot...

Image credit:


Each of us has our own concept of Jesus—
As for me, I like to think He laughed a lot
Yes, I picture Jesus throwing his head back
with a wide winsome smile
and laughing heartily from the gut
and I think He did it often

I know it doesn’t say so in Scripture
but still, I imagine 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 winebibber 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

Oh! I’m sure Jesus was great fun to be with—
that mothers handed babies to Him
that He kissed them, blessed them
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 lads

and when someone approached Him
with despair and grief and longing
my mind’s eye sees Him
wrapping His loving arms around
the one in need—
turning sorrow into hope

Oh! It’s true, Jesus got plenty stirred up
with righteous indignation—
even knocked over vendor tables
in the Temple courts
and vented his 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

Oh! I am touched by His humanity—

No wonder I love Him

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Baptized Where Jesus Was Baptized

Pilgrims waiting to be baptized
in the Jordan River

Israel Pilgrimage—1987

The pilgrims line up
at the popular baptismal site
on the banks of the Jordan
donned in flowing white robes
rented from a vendor
on the way in

One by one our rabbi[1]
listens to words of testimony
and dips each believer backward
as their brothers and sisters
sing softly on the shore

After they emerge
washed clean in that murky old river
they shed their rented robes
and are funneled through
a narrow aisle
where souvenir bottles
of Jordan River water
where olive wood sheep
and olive wood shepherds
tee shirts and postcards
and holy this and blessed that
are offered—
for a price

Our driver hurries us along
beckons us to the bus
The motor’s running

Quick! Or you’ll miss the camel ride
through the wilderness tonight!

And despite renting and hawking
despite murky water
and tight tour agendas, we know
the sincere emersion
of each contrite sinner
has filled the heavens
with hallelujahs
this glorious day

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Messianic Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn of Beth Israel Worship Center at the Jerusalem Center, Wayne, NJ.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Happiness is...A Bowl of Bings!!!

Photo by Maude


July.  Bing season.
Shop-Rite displays a cart inside the entrance
brimming with thousands of tantalizing,
plump, succulent rubies,
only ninety-nine cents a pound, this week.

Pick one by its slim green stem,
pluck it deliciously through your teeth,
bite into its firm, smooth skin
into its luscious, juicy flesh.
Nibble around the cherrystone.

God could’ve sustained us with manna
and perhaps some quail,
but His bounty spreads before us
filling shelves and cases, aisle after aisle,
so commonplace, we hardly wonder at His generosity.

Maude Carolan

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, America!

Flashback...4th of July, 1984
Frederick Leo Harris, master crane operator
who removed the original torch from the Statue of Liberty
July 4, 1984

In memory of Frederick Leo Harris

Uncle Fred was an unassuming kind of guy—
a master crane operator who ran
a long-necked crane for Canger, Inc.
He never boasted about it
didn’t speak of the special skills required
or dangers or the scope
of projects he was working on

nor did we even think to ask
except perhaps to inquire, conversationally
about where he was working
It could have been Jersey
or New York or sometimes Pennsylvania
He just put on his work clothes each morning
put in his eight hours, and came home
to their three room apartment
in Paterson, every night for dinner

On the 4th of July in 1984
Uncle Fred was the engineer
chosen to remove the original torch
from the hand of Lady Liberty

That particular Independence Day
marked the start of restorations
on the Statue of Liberty, with completion
targeted for her 100th birthday, in 1986

I don’t recall our uncle telling us
about it in advance. If he had
we undoubtedly would’ve been there
with our young children
to witness his feat

He probably dressed for work that morning
just like every other day
had his coffee, drove into the city
got himself to Liberty Island
and quietly set about doing  
exactly what a master crane operator
would be expected to do

There was a special ceremony
that Independence Day
with pomp and circumstance
a brass band and dignitaries—

and in the cab of the tall crane
hunched over the controls
sat our Uncle Fred, confidently
doing what needed to be done
to expertly bring down the old torch

The honor bestowed upon him
was completely lost on our Aunt Carol—
She was at home and unhappy
because he had to work on the holiday
and therefore they had to miss out
on normal 4th of July festivities
like a parade or a cook-out or fireworks
When a news reporter called
to ask her some questions
she let him know exactly how she felt
and what she said was directly quoted
in the newspaper the following day

It wasn’t until she saw a picture of him
standing next to the old torch
on the front page of the Paterson News
that she realized the illustrious way
he spent the 4th. Suddenly
she became overcome with pride
and fussed over him to no end
even though, I’m certain, Uncle Fred
could easily have done without
anybody fussing over him, at all

The original torch is on permanent display
in the base of the Statue of Liberty
with a plaque telling of its removal
and the statue’s restoration that followed
It includes no mention of our uncle’s name
which, surely, would not have bothered him

but we know, and we’re proud
and this poem is written to keep
that special memory of him alive

Maude Carolan Pych