Sunday, March 31, 2019

On the Road to Emmaus...

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit:


Luke 24:13-35


Cleopas and friend walked and talked
with lumbering gaits and downcast faces
shining hopes of sweet redemption
dashed and obliterated

They asked of each other the Why question
for if anyone had come to fill those old prophecies
surely it had seemed to be Him
that Jesus they'd come to know
through signs and wonders
that appeared to be miraculous

Their so-called Messiah had been crucified
was dead and gone. Yes, gone, gone, gone!
Even His cold dead body was missing
from the tomb that had been sealed—

He approached them
in the midst of their perplexity
on the road to Emmaus
He walked with them, talked with them
they even felt His fire
but didn't know who He was

and strange as that may seem
how often have I been
the unnamed friend of Cleopas?
I, too, profess to know Him, know Him well
yet fail to recognize Him along the road


Taking the barley loaf in his hands
the stranger lifted it

Baruch ata Adonai
Eloheynu Melech ha Olam
ha motzie lechem
min ha'aretz

He tore it, offered it, and just as it fell
into reaching grasps
their astonished eyes recognized Him
and in that instant
He utterly vanished from their sight!

Leaping from the table, Cleopas and his friend
stumbled over each other
looking under, over, around and around
knowing even as they did
it was True after all

As they looked at each other
their disbelief became relief
the sweet awakening of a deep Belief

for Truth visited them along the way
joined them at their table, broke their humble bread
They asked each other

Were not our hearts burning
as He talked with us on the road
and opened the Scriptures to us?

Now, blazing temples of Holy Fire
they suddenly knew their once shattered hearts
would never cool again


When I first found You, or You found me
I thought I'd go from strength to strength
pinnacle to pinnacle, joy to joy
and so it was for a season
when love was new

then the whirlwind came
thrashing through my world
upending all my securities
leaving me stunned, broken, alone
certain I would die

so I waited for You to save me
waited for prayers pleaded at Your scarred feet
to avail their just reward
for I believed in You, trusted, hoped
Eyes veiled, I couldn't find You
failed to recognize You along the road

Had I believed in vain?

Then You began to speak
not audibly, but  whenever I opened Your Word
Radiance, Glory, Unfailing Love
sprang from the page and became manifest
My heart blazed! I began to shine!

Now, on the other side of sorrow
I dare not forget my burning heart,
Your Glorious Presence
so I abide, remembering
it is You, my Jesus
Who walks with me along the road

Maude Carolan

Saturday, March 30, 2019

It's Not About the Bunny...

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

A few weeks ago I saw a little plaque in Hobby Lobby that said, "It's not about the bunny...It's about the Lamb!" I held it in my hand and should have purchased it, but didn't. Last week I went to my favorite chocolatier, Bromilow's, to buy chocolate lambs for the family, like I do every Easter. There were no lambs in the store, so I asked why. I was told that they don't sell and that people want bunnies, not lambs. Fortunately, they expected I would come and had a box of lambs poured, put aside, and waiting for me in the basement. I thought about that plaque in Hobby Lobby and regretted not buying it. Today I called my daughter, Kristin. She just happened to be in Hobby Lobby. I told her my story and this very darling daughter immediately bought the plaque with the great Easter message for me...

It's not about the bunny...
It's about the Lamb!

Image 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 gift that will 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 Him
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

Friday, March 29, 2019

Mary Magdalene's Story...

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

Painting by J. Kirk Richards


It’s no wonder
Mary of Magdala
traveled with Rabboni
and the twelve
and helped
support His mission
She was a woman on fire
with love and gratitude
a woman freed
of seven snarling demons

It’s no wonder
despite trepidation
she watched at a distance
as they nailed her Great One
to a wretched cross
cupping her ears, wailing
at each resonating hammerfall
No wonder
she drew near
as He hung
in the agony of dying
for being there
was better
than not being there

Mary, bereft
looked upon her Rabboni
as they took Him
from the beams
laid His powerless Body
in the tomb
and rolled a great round stone
across the entrance
separating Him from her
before the sun went down
that Good and terrible Friday

and it’s no wonder
she was back at dawn
the morning after Sabbath
with other ministering women
carrying spices
heedless of who
would roll the stone away

But the tomb was open
and the women trembled
as an angel astounded them
with talk of rising

Mary ran to the apostles
but it’s no wonder
she returned
to grieve near the tomb,
wanting to be
where last He was

A stranger, the gardener?
inquired of her weeping
"Sir," she implored
"if you have carried Him away
tell me where you have put Him
and I will get Him"



Astonished, she reflexively
reached for Him…
"Do not cling to Me"
He told her
"for I have not yet ascended
to My Father"

Oh, it’s no wonder
it was she He entrusted
to bring the news
to the brethren
No wonder
she ran, stumbling over rocks
and potsherd
dashing through brush
and brambles
raising tufts of dust
eager to exclaim
breathless with jubilation

"I have seen
the Lord!"

Maude Carolan

Thursday, March 28, 2019

About Pontius Pilate...

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day


During my first pilgrimage to Israel
archeologist and guide, Micha Ashkenazi
took us to Caesarea to view a replica
of a piece of limestone
partially inscribed with the name Pontius Pilatus

Micha had been a member of the team
that unearthed the stone there
during a dig in 1961

It is the only evidence
of the historical existence
of the Roman governor
outside the New Testament
and writings of Josephus Flavius

Interesting, Pilate, who may have given
a modicum of credence to his wife’s warning
to have nothing to do with Jesus
did make an abysmal effort
to prevent the crucifixion
by setting Barabbas
before the riled multitude

When the crowd shouted to free Barabbas
and called for death to Jesus
their chants of

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

drummed in his ears

Pilate asked for a basin of water
He washed his hands in front of them—
as if water could possibly cleanse him
of responsibility for what would happen next

The irony is that even now
thousands of years hence
contempt for this man is as clear
as his name etched in stone—

for wherever believers gather
and proclaim their creed


suffered under Pontius Pilate
was crucified, dead and buried…

Pilate’s guilt is an indelible stain
that can never be
washed from our minds

Maude Carolan Pych

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"Jesus Laughed"

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Mary of Bethany

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit:


Lord, I’ve come to curl up
close to Your sandals
like Mary of Bethany
my ears primed
to absorb each word You speak
I’ve tuned out concerns
that would pull me
from this footstool
and will not be bothered
by deeds or distractions
that would drown Your voice
If Martha insists
on doing busy-work
she must do it alone
for nothing is more important to me
than sitting right here
right now, with You

and I will wail
at Your sacred feet
like Mary of Bethany
when my strength falters –
I shall wrap my quivering arms
around Your sturdy ankles
allow my tears to run in rivulets
down Your dusty feet –
stir You to weep, too
till resurrection happens

but especially, Lord
I long to anoint Your precious feet
like Mary of Bethany
and come with all that I have
as she, bearing nard
for I, too, yearn to soothe
with pure, lavish fragrance
the calloused heels and soles
toes and arches
I, too, know well –
the very feet that carried Good News
to my ears and heart –
beautiful feet, bleeding feet
pierced through for me

I shall unpin my hair, humbly
like Mary of Bethany
take Your dust
as diamonds, upon me
I desire to be, unto you, Lord
a sweet aroma

and if I be scolded, as was she
by one who couldn’t possibly understand
so be it
so be it

Maude Carolan Pych

Monday, March 25, 2019

"Father, Forgive Them"

Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit:


It’s Good Friday
and I’m doing what I usually do—
meditating on the Cross
and then writing a poem

Today I am thinking about forgiveness
and unforgiveness
thinking one of the things
that makes me marvel about Jesus
is that He looked down
upon the very men who mocked Him
the ones who scourged Him
who spat in His innocent face
then crowned Him with a twisted ring of thorns
and drove nails through His hands and feet

Yes, He looked at them
with unfathomable mercy
in His unspeakable agony
and implored His Father

…forgive them
for they know not what they do

Then I think of myself
of injustices done to me
by people I’ve loved
people I’ve tried to forgive
and have forgiven
then taken back my forgiveness
over and over and over again
I’ve mulled over life’s unfairness
replayed injustices, feeling righteous
feeling justified

then am reminded (like today)
that all have sinned
so I let go and forgive again
and really want to
for God has forgiven me
so who am I
to remember puny injustices
against myself

Today, Jesus, as I meditate upon Your love
and the magnitude of Your sacrifice
my old wounds are infinitesimal
I don’t want to harbor them

I’m asking for Your help
this Good Friday afternoon

Help me let it all go—


Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Today’s Lenten Meditation

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit:


“…But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!
It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Matt 26:24b (NIV)

He controlled the money bag
dipped into the money bag
dipped with Jesus at table
mingled with Him
chewed the fat
as they roasted fish
along the shore of the Galilee

Judas watched Him heal
the blind and lame
even raise the dead
was there when He fed
hungry multitudes
calmed a raging squall
and walked billow to billow
upon the storm-tossed sea

He heard Him teach
beatitudes, parables
even how to pray
observed His tenderness
as children climbed
upon His lap
observed His mercy
to those who sinned much

The day Mary anointed Jesus’ feet
with extravagant nard
and dried them
with her unpinned hair
it was he who complained
the perfume should have been sold
the money given to the poor—
yes, it was he, holder
of the purse strings

When this same apostle agreed
to betray his master
for a handful of silver
did he think
the Miracle Worker
would somehow slip away
unscathed, as He had
the day He was driven
out of the synagogue
by an angry mob
intent on throwing Him
off a cliff

Woe to the mercenary
betrayer of the Son of Man
…Mammon had always been
his greater god

Their final evening
at the Paschal meal
the Master stooped
to wash filth
from His betrayer’s feet

Judas partook of the Bread
drank of the Wine
and when Jesus dipped a morsel
and gave it to him
from His very own hand
the taker took that, too

Later, in the garden
following Jesus’ great travail
Judas approached Him
with armed cohorts
called Him, “Rabbi”
kissed his face
still damp with blood and sweat
as the Rabbi called him, “Friend”

The word echoed
echoed, echoed
in thunderous
till he flung
the tarnished coins
through temple doors
till he tied
a ragged noose around his neck
and hanged his wretched self
from a jutting twisted limb

Maude Carolan