Sunday, September 29, 2019

"Baby's Breath"

The American Lung Association says...
"If you can't breathe, nothing else matters."

Photo credit:

Have you ever kept vigil for a child with asthma?


Shortly after I weaned her
from my breast at eight months,
she endured her first asthmatic attack.
I hadn’t even known
what asthma was,
though I soon came to know it
as the violator
that stole my baby’s breath.

Her little chest rose and fell
in tumultuous heaves.
Haunting rhythmic wheezes
and mournful moans
disquieted me
hour upon hour
for days...days.
I re-attached the umbilicus.

During one intense episode,
I bathed her, rocked her,
sang soothing lullabies,
read stories
she was too young to understand,
trying to relax us both,
all to the constant
wheeze and moan,
rise and fall
of her straining rib cage.

I tucked her spent frame in the crib
and kept vigil,
daring not to close my eyes,
daring not to leave her side.
What if it got worse?
What if…she stopped breathing?

I reclined, just to rest awhile,
weary eyes wide
in faithful night watch,
weary ears tuned
to the eerily whistling
wheeze and moan,
wheeze and moan,
wheeze and moan,
ad infinitum,
ad infinitum.
At some point,
like a shameful apostle
at Gethsemane,
my heavy lids closed.

I jolted awake,
bolted upright,
by the startling silence.

In panic, I reached frozen fingers
toward her…

O praise God!
She lay warm
and gently breathing,
sleeping the peaceful sleep
of an angel.

Maude Carolan

The above poem originally appeared in Sensations Magazine.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Celebrating the Jewish Feasts...

We'll Observe Rosh Hoshanna
at Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey,
Next Weekend...

Photo credit:


It’s September
and I’m a gentile member
of a Messianic congregation
grafted into the Olive Tree
and excited to be celebrating the holy fall feasts

I look forward to gathering with believers
beneath the moon on Rosh Hoshanna
where our rabbi will stand upon a crate
and blow his long Yemenite shofar
tekiah…shevarim…teruah…tekiah gedolah
We’ll focus on repentance
and praise God for our atonement
through the sacrifice of Yeshua
grateful that our names are inscribed
in the Lamb’s Book of Life

and throughout the Days of Awe
we’ll examine ourselves carefully
for we desire to be right
with God and our fellow man
mindful that our God is a righteous judge
and all His ways are just and true
We know He will reward the righteous
and not allow the wicked to go unpunished

On Yom Kippur, the holiest
most solemn day of the Jewish year
we will celebrate deliverance
and salvation through our Messiah
who died for the sin of the world
We’ll proclaim our thanks and praise Him

Finally, it’ll be the Feast of Tabernacles
the glorious foretaste of Heaven—
My brothers and sisters
will build a sukkah out of tree branches
and decorate it with oranges and pomegranates
It’ll be sturdy enough to dwell in
and frail enough for us to see
starlight through the leafy roof
Our rabbi will wave the lulav
there’ll be water pouring and praise
and we’ll look ahead with joy to the day
we’ll all be in the Heavenly Jerusalem
dwelling with Messiah Yeshua, forevermore

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Water from Jacob's Well

Photo credit:

Israel Pilgrimage—1986

We arrive at Shechem
and make our way
to Jacob’s Well

It surprises me to find
this ancient water source
that I first read about in Genesis
still operating

and I’m astonished
to be offered
a refreshing cupful
drawn deeply
from a bucket
on a rope

The water is clear and cool
and tastes ordinary, but
what can be ordinary
about water drawn
from the very well
of the old patriarch
built 4000 years ago?

I purchase a small ceramic urn
filled with an ounce or so
of life’s most basic sustenance
It is sealed with a plug of wax

I’ll place it on a shelf at home
not because of any
mystical or magical powers

(It is ordinary water, after all)

but to remind me
of how far back in time
God’s amazing story goes

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Rabbinical Tunnel, Jerusalem

Israel Pilgrimage, 2006

Photo credit:

Israel Pilgrimage--2006

One evening
some of us avail ourselves
of an unscheduled opportunity to tour
the amazing rabbinical tunnel
beneath the Temple Mount

The tunnel stretches
along the span
of the Western Wall
continuing near and beneath
the Dome of the Rock
leading to the place where
the Holy of Holies
likely dwelled

My mind boggles with amazement
as I consider this probability—

The women among us
observe, close-up
behind a curtained window
Orthodox men swaying
as they pray at the Wall—
We seem to be praying
in their very midst

Our group ambles
through a passageway
in places so narrow
we must turn sideways
to slip through

Along the route
we touch enormous
hewn Herodian stones
(one measuring forty feet by nine)
and cannot help but wonder
how they were placed here
and we stare at countless slips of paper
folded and tucked between stones
bearing countless heart cries unto God

We come to a portion
of the walkway
that has a transparent floor
and glimpse downward
to see cisterns and staircases
of ancient civilizations
in this land so rich in history

Pious women
garbed all in black
heads covered and bowed
are quietly praying
at the very place
rabbis believe to be
the closest physical point
to the Most Holy Place

Oh! I yearn to linger
but our group moves on

All along the way
we absorb and observe
pray and ponder
the wonder of it
and all it means to be
on this amazing pilgrimage
in the City of Our God

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Life of Richard Wurmbrand

Saturday, September 7, 7:30 p.m.
Beth Israel Worship Center
11 Railroad Avenue, Wayne, NJ

The amazing life story
of Richard Wurmbrand

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand


Written after hearing Richard Wurmbrand speak at Beth Israel Messianic Center, Garfield, NJ, in the spring of 1993.  Born Jewish, he was born again as a young man and became a Lutheran minister.  He was persecuted in Communist prisons for 14 years for underground Christian activities in Rumania. Pastor Wurmbrand was the author of "Tortured For Christ" and founder of "Voice of the Martyrs." He died February 17, 2001.

The prisoners rejoiced,
singing, jangling,
wrists bound in iron chains,
hungry, shivering
in one dismal cellblock
somewhere in Rumania
between 1948 and `62.
Bound in shackles
but spirits free
and hearts jubilant,
like thorn birds
their voices
pierced the wretchedness
with a laser of unearthly joy.

“Praise God for providing
musical instruments,”
cling-clang, cling-clang!
“Praise Him for this crust,
a blanket, a bucket,”
cling-clang, cling-clang!
“Praise for our dear families
unseen for years,”
“Praise for fellowship
in midst of persecution,”
cling-clang, cling-clang!

There were days
without bread
when they partook
the Lord’s Supper
without elements,
but most solemn reverence.

Many years later,
after release,
the echo of chains
may have been
the loveliest music
their hearts ever heard.
In reverie,
the Body and Blood
without bread and wine
may have been
the sweetest Communion
of their lives.

Maude Carolan