Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Terrible...& Beautiful

Until Resurrection Day

The following post is for Wednesday, February 21st.
I'll be off-line for one week
and will resume posting daily Lenten poems, March 1.

The following poem was written several years ago at Beth Israel Worship Center.
Marty Goetz was singing, "The Love of God."
The lights were low in the sanctuary.
The congregants were worshipful
as he sang the words, "...See on that Tree, the Love of God."
At that moment, I was inspired to write the following poem.
It was written on a scrap of paper, in the dark.

Image credit: soundfaith.com


It’s not a pretty sight -
It’s beautiful.
            Crimson streaming
            From His crown
            Onto my head,
                        Flowing down my face,
                                    Over my body,
                                                Covering my feet,
                                                            Making me whiter than snow.

It’s not a pretty sight -
It’s beautiful.
            It’s agony.
            He calls for His Father,
            Writhes, gasps, thirsts.

                        Oh, the weighty burden
                        Of sin upon the Sinless One,
                                    The world’s,

            Ushering the covenant of salvation -
                        The world’s,

It’s not a pretty sight -
It’s beautiful.
            It is finished.
            They take Him down
                        From the good and terrible Cross.
                        They place Him in the tomb.
                        They seal the rolling stone.
                        They guard His grave
                                    In awesome,

It’s not a pretty sight -
It’s beautiful.
            His Body, gone.
                        Gone!  With power
                        In one resplendent moment -
                        Seal unsealed,
                                    Stone rolled,
                                                Earth jolted on its axis.

                        Angels appear, hallowing -
                                    Alleluia!  Alleluia!
                                                He is risen!

                                                            We live
                                                            Because He lives.

                                                                                    Oh! He is beautiful.

Maude Carolan

He Refused...

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: pinterest.co.uk


They mocked
and struck and spat and stripped
and drove spikes
through His hands and feet.
One offered wine and myrrh
to take the pointed edge
off the Excruciation.

The Savior
peered down
through kind, hot eyes,
pursed His parched lips
and shook His bleeding head.

He chose...chose!
to bear the fullness
of the sin
that nailed Him
to those crude
crossed beams;

chose to drink
the brimming chalice dry,

chose to pay the full price,
without bargain or barter,
without wholesaling
or discounting
or quibbling
or niggling it
of its terrible,

Maude Carolan

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It Pleased the Lord...

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: bibleprophecytruth.com


When I applied stinging iodine
to the tender knees of my children
or a corrective spank
or a hug to assuage a broken heart
I remember that
their wounds, hurts
even the chastisements
wounded me more than them –
Why, I would've become a she-lion
poised to pounce and mangle
bruisers of my own –
yet the very God I know as Love
was pleased to crush
was delighted to bruise[2]
His Very Own

So, I shudder, convinced
God's ways are infinitely higher
than my finite mind can grasp –
for God stayed His almighty hand
held His almighty tongue
waited it out in His Heaven
pleased, even delighted
to give His Only Son
innocent, docile as a lamb
to be mocked, bruised, spat upon
crowned with thorn branches
stripped and nailed naked to a tree –

yes, pleased and delighted was He
as the Most Precious Blood
of His Only Son
rained like rubies
upon the ground

Pleased and delighted am I
that the God Who so loves
crushed and bruised
His Very Own
for me

Maude Carolan

[1] Isaiah 53:10 "New American Standard Bible"
[2] Isaiah 53:10  "Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible"

It's All About...THE LAMB

Until Resurrection Day

Photo credit: bookhaven.stanford.edu


It's not about you
It's not about me
about how we look
or our family tree

It's not where we work
or how much we make
It's not what we give
or how much we take

It's not who we know
It's not if we’re fit
It's not how we vote
or if we have wit

It’s not if we’re good
or even quite bad
It’s not if we’re angry
or upbeat and glad!

What it is, is simple
as simple can be
It's also profound
in its simplicity

It's all about God
Who is the I Am
and His dear Son
our Passover Lamb

All about salvation
and especially Love
Life that’s eternal
with Jesus above

Let’s keep Him center
for there is no doubt
that’s where He belongs—


Maude Carolan Pych

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Binding of Isaac


Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: wikiart.com


The Binding of Isaac – Genesis 22

"Take your son

your only son
whom you love…"

Twenty-two chapters into Scripture
and it's the first time love is mentioned
as God tells Abraham,

"Sacrifice Isaac
as a burnt offering"

What swirls
through the mind
of this old patriarch
(who after a hundred years
fathers the son
of God's promise…
the son he loves
and proudly watches grow)
What swirls as he swings
the sharp axe, splitting wood

It was three days journey
from Beersheba to Moriah—
Leaving his servants behind
Abraham hands Isaac
the bundled wood
and carries fire and knife
up the mount

"Avi" (my father)
"where is the lamb?"

"God will provide the lamb
my son"

Abraham erects an altar of stone
arranges the wood and binds the lad
(whose faith and obedience
must be at least as great as his own)

Unflinching before the God
he has finally come to trust
the aged patriarch
(known to lie
to save his own skin
known to try to pull off
God's covenant himself
when it seemed God was slow
in keeping His promise)
this same patriarch…
raises the glinting blade
above his son, his only son
whom he loves…

to knife-fall
the angel of the Lord calls out

"Abraham! Abraham!
Do not lay a hand on the boy…"

The old man
who proves he would
withhold nothing from his God—
drops the bloodless blade
unbinds and embraces Isaac

O boundless relief
Effusive praise

and there, tangled
in a thicket, struggles
the substitute sacrifice
…a ram

Two millennia later
God's Son
His only Son
Whom He loves
carries wood
of a crossbeam
up the very same mountain

No angel of the Lord
arrives last moment
to halt the hammerfall
No ram appears
in a thicket

For God so loves
the world
He provides…
His Son
His only Son…

     The Sacrificial Lamb

Maude Carolan

Friday, February 16, 2018

Accustomed to the Cross

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: thoughtco.com


I’m accustomed to the Cross.

I’ve seen it since childhood
gleaming high atop steeples,
crucifixes behind altar rails,
on hospital walls,
on bedroom walls,
depicted in framed masterpieces,
depicted in sculpted masterpieces,
described in written masterpieces,
marking graves in cemeteries,
illustrated in holy books,
affixed to lapels,
tattooed on forearms,
hanging silver and golden
and studded with diamonds
and sapphires from the necks
of men, women, children—
hanging, hanging on my mind.

So accustomed, yet
sometimes it is everywhere
and I don’t see it at all.

Today I see it afresh
sturdy and wooden and terrifying
through Good Friday eyes
that send streams down my cheeks
as blood streams from His wounds.
I shudder,
mindful of the Man
dying upon the beams
and the reason He is there—

at the horror of it, Jesus my Lamb,
at the magnitude of it, Jesus my King,
at the love upon it, Jesus my Friend,
and my gratitude for it,
O Blessed Jesus,
my precious Lord and Savior
Who by His Death
and Resurrection
purchased eternal life…for me.

Maude Carolan

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Poem for Lent

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: aleteia.org


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.

My mind’s heart
feels His agony

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

I post it on 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, February 14, 2018

It's Ash Wednesday

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: pinterest.com


It’s Ash Wednesday—

Off in the distance I hear thunder
thunder, like the sound of a big bass drum

There’s a BOOM and a BOOM and a BOOM
and a BOOM

like ticking and ticking and ticking
of a clock     Like a pulse     pulsing
Like beats     Heartbeats


I’m reminded of time wasted
and time used wisely
of goals realized
and goals not met

Have I said the important things?
Have I done them?
Have I given enough?
Have I loved enough?     Forgiven?
Accepted forgiveness?

Is the world better because I’m here?

Have I done what I need to do       with God?

I listen for the next strike to the drum
and the next

BOOM and a BOOM and a BOOM

I don’t want the rhythm to stop

but       it will

I recall our vigil at Joanne’s bedside—
Remember holding my breath, waiting for her next
waiting for each heartbeat       Wishing
my hoping were enough
to keep her

The beat goes on     It won’t falter

until     BOOM and a BOOM…..BOOM
and     silence

dead silence

and that’s it

That’s when God takes over

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, February 11, 2018

To My Valentine...

Image credit: theromantic.com


I’m blessed to be married
to a Godly man

Let me tell you about him—
Bob received the Lord as a young man
at a Billy Graham crusade in New York City
and has been serving Him
in various capacities all his life

On the day I met Bob, he came
as a widower, with a group from church
to minister to my dying husband
in a nursing home in Livingston

He also ministered regularly
to patients undergoing chemo treatment
at Hackensack Medical Center
and for eight years
was a one-on-one volunteer
for a resident at a center for the
developmentally disabled
Bob has been a Gideon for years
distributing Bibles at schools
hospitals and wherever needed
He’s generous to people in need
and compassionate, particularly
to the downtrodden

Bob loves our congregation
(Beth Israel Worship Center)
as much as I. We sit side by side
and sing, worship and listen attentively
to the inspired teachings
of our pastor/rabbi, Jonathan Cahn
We enjoy fellowshipping
with the church members
and after each Sunday service
look forward to working
with our faithful little team
to count the collection money
After that, the two of us
usually go out to dinner

In the morning, Bob puts a CD in the Bose
and fills our home with worship music
Usually, it’s Les Morrison’s “Messianic Violin”
or Messianic vocals by Marty Goetz
or old-time hymns by George Beverly Shea
Other times he reads us a devotional message
from a book by Max Lucado

Every evening before dinner
Bob leads us in a prayer
for our family and friends
and those who ask us
to pray specifically on their behalf

He takes care of himself—
works out with Peter, his trainer
once a week and on his own, besides
He practices his swing at the
Passaic County Golf Course
and in summer, swims a lap or two
at the Totowa Pool, most days
Actually, I’d say that he’s
in darn good shape
for his 86 years

A few times a year
we get to go away
on a nice vacation

Life is good!

It’s a blessing for me
to be spending these latter years
with love and sweet contentment
happily yoked to this Godly man—
my beloved husband, Bob Pych

Maude Carolan Pych

The above poem is included in my 411-page memoir in poetry, "Wonderhoods." For information about ordering, please scroll to the end of this blog.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Just Love One Another

Here's an oldie from the back of the file drawer...

Image credit: jodiblackwood.com


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


My poet/friend, Rev. EJ Emerson
has just published her book,
"Psalmistry--Reflections of Praise"
It contains a psalm-a-day
that will encourage, enlighten, amuse, challenge & uplift readers.

And, EJ blessed my heart
by dedicating her wonderful book to the memory
of my deceased husband, Leo F. Carolan.

Her book is available at Amazon.com.