Saturday, February 29, 2020

"Love and the Akedah"

Until Resurrection Day

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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 has proven he would
withhold nothing from his God—
drops the bloodless blade
unbinds and embraces Isaac

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 28, 2020

Are You Accustomed to the Cross?

Until Resurrection Day

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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 Death
and Resurrection
purchased eternal life…for me.

Maude Carolan

Note: The above poem appears in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!"  Elm Hill Press. For more information click on

Come to the Totowa Library
Monday, March 9, 6:30 p.m.

I'll be reading from my new book
"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

The library is located at  537 Totowa Road, Totowa, NJ.
There is parking in the rear.
Refreshments will be served.

Be sure to say, "Hello!"

Thursday, February 27, 2020

"The Scrapbook Grandma Made For Me"

Until Resurrection Day...

I picked my grandchildren up from Catholic school yesterday and was greeted by their smiling faces and ash smudges on their foreheads. It was Ash Wednesday. I was reminded of a conversation we had last year during Lent and the following poem that our conversation inspired...

My paternal grandmother, Anna Maude Walsh


I picked up my grandchildren
at Saint Mary’s elementary school
They tossed their heavy backpacks
into the back of the car
got in and fastened their seatbelts
They know the routine—
don’t need to be reminded anymore

As we drove off
I could hear them in the back seat
talking about Lent and fasting
Dean and Alana gave up electronics
Their big brother Logan
now in high school
gave up chocolate
Dean asked, “Grandma
what did you give up?”

I told Dean I didn’t give up
anything this Lent, instead
I give Jesus a gift of new poems—
Some days I spend quiet time
writing poems that give glory to Him
and every day I post
a Lenten poem on my blog
Dean said, “Wow! That’s a lot
of poems, Grandma!”

I explained that it’s perfectly fine
to give up things for 40 days, but
sometimes people do other things
like donating to a charity
or visiting the sick
or baking cookies for an elderly neighbor
anything that draws them closer to God

Then I thought about my own grandmother—
She lived next door
when I was growing up
Grandma loved the Lord
and often talked to me about Him
She even made me a special scrapbook
with a cardboard cover
that she decorated with flowers
she carefully cut
from a Burpee seed catalog
The scrapbook contained pictures of children
kittens and puppies, and Howdy Doody
but more importantly, it contained
the 11 chapter story by Charles Dickens
that he wrote for his children in the 1840s
called, The Life of Our Lord
The story was published as a serial
in the Paterson Morning Call, in the 1950s

I still have that scrapbook
still appreciate that Grandma took the time
to make it just for me

It’s the kind of thing grandmas do—
Important things like that

Maude Carolan Pych

The above poem is published in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. For more information go to

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A-Poem-a-Day Throughout Lent...

Until Resurrection Day...

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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 was 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 what I’ve done
or haven’t done

with God

takes over

Maude Carolan Pych

For more Lenten poems...

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
is available at
For more information go to

And...I'll be reading from my book
and signing copies at the
Totowa Library
537 Totowa Road, Totowa Borough, NJ
Monday, March 9 at 6:30 pm

(Parking in the rear.)
Refreshments will be served.

Come, say "Hello!"
I look forward to meeting you.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

In the Valley of Elah...

Beginning Ash Wednesday...
Until Resurrection Day
Right here...on this website!

Image credit:

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

Our spritely band of pilgrims
stop at the Valley of Elah—
a wide-open field
of dry grass and an old rocky
dried up spring, somewhere
in the general vicinity
of where David slew Goliath

Oftentimes pilgrims perform
a loose reenactment
of the Biblical account—
so we select our cast

Six foot six Shawn, obviously
is cast as the giant
and Mary Rose’s
slight young daughter, Ariana
agrees to be David
(after a little arm twisting)

While Big Shawn is sprawled
flat on the ground
and Ariana lifts her slingshot
to declare victory
I select five smooth stones
from among thousands
in the bed of the brook
and place them
in my pocket

for one never knows
when one will encounter
a giant in the land

Maude Carolan Pych

How about a book of devotional poems
to read during Lent?

It's available now at
For more information go to


I'll be reading from "Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
Monday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m.
at the Totowa Library
537 Totowa Road, Totowa Borough, NJ
(Parking in the rear)
Refreshments will be served.

Come, say "Hello!"

Sunday, February 16, 2020

God's Valentine to Us...

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB

For God—
The Majestic Almighty, Omnipotent, King of Kings
Ancient of Days, Elohim, Adonai
my beloved Abba Father

so loved—
with the bigness of His gracious agape heart
a love unfathomable, unconditional
and abounding in mercy

the world—
the whole wide world and everyone in it
in Israel, Jordan, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, China
in Ireland and Italy, where my ancestors came from
in HochHausen, Germany, where loved ones reside
where we’ve been on vacation, Aruba and Bermuda
and all of us right here, in Wayne, New Jersey

that He gave His only begotten Son—
given to us, freely, our Father’s extraordinary gift of Yeshua/Jesus
His sinless Son, to save us from punishment we deserve
for sins we have committed

that whoever believes in Him—
so all we need do to receive this wondrous gift
is believe God’s trustworthy Word
believe that Jesus was born into the world
and that He is our promised Savior

shall not perish—
because of Jesus’ sacrifice upon Calvary’s Tree
and because His Most Precious Blood atoned for all our sins
death has been swallowed up in victory!

but have eternal life—
because of Jesus’ miraculous Resurrection from death
we live because He lives
and will dwell with Him
in the Kingdom of Heaven
to enjoy unimaginable splendors

Praise the Lord!

Maude Carolan Pych

Announcing a Special Author Presentation
at the Totowa Library, Monday, March 9, 6:30 p.m.

Come, hear me read poems from my new book.
I'll be available to sign copies.

The library is located at
537 Totowa Road, Totowa Borough, NJ

Parking available in the rear.
Refreshments will be served.

Sunday, February 9, 2020



There was no mohel
no Bris Milah on my eighth day
no drop of blood
from my cloven heart
So, when and how it happened
cannot be pinpointed
Perhaps it occurred
when I read Moses’ face shone
after he was in the presence
of the Lord, on the mountain
or that David danced
uninhibitedly before the Ark
out of impassioned love for God
or perhaps when I heard Boaz
put his covering
over the gentile Ruth
and became her kinsman-redeemer
Oh, it might have been
when I made aliyah[1] in ’86 or ‘87
or again in 2006
each time praying
at the Wall and the Tomb
or it may have happened
upon becoming utterly awestruck
at the Little Cupula of the Tablets
while considering Messiah’s return
or possibly it was the night we sang
every carol we knew
in the shepherd field of Bethlehem
It could even have been
when I drank water from
the ancient Jacob's Well
or the morning I experienced sunrise
over the Dead Sea
dreaming of the Great Day
when fish will thrive
and vegetation bloom, miraculously
in its healed waters
It may well have been
the sight and smell of the land
as I walked in the footsteps
of my Jewish Savior
or when my heart
caught fire while reading
the melodious Psalms
or Solomon's Song of Songs
or as I poured over the account
of Peter's prison praise
Actually it probably was when
I received blessed assurance
that I am eternally saved
by the precious Blood of the Lamb…

All I know is
some way, somehow
something happened
to spiritually circumcise
this gentile heart
making it echad[2]
with the Heart of the God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and I haven’t for a single moment
been the same

Maude Carolan Pych
(Formerly “The Circumcised Heart”)

[1] Aliyah means ascent in Hebrew.
[2] Echad means one in Hebrew.

Lent is Coming...
My book has many poetic meditations
on the Crucifixion & Resurrection of Jesus.

To order your copy of
"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Treasures Within...

Many years ago, while visiting
the Museum of Natural History in New York
I saw the gemstone exhibit
and was astonished to see the beauty within
what seemed to be very ordinary rocks.
That visit inspired the following poem...

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We see every kind
everywhere every day,
ordinary rocks...
pebbles, stones, boulders,
fossil, shale, gravel,
gray, brown, black,
russet, rose, ecru,
speckled, smooth,
flat, jagged, oval,
dull, dirty,
so ordinary
we hardly notice them at all
unless we stumble over one
in the path along our way.

God could’ve made all rocks
but instead
He astounds us
with fiery magnificence.
Inside of some
He put emeralds,
amethysts, opals,
star sapphires,
blood-red rubies.

He dazzles us
with extraordinary treasures
inside ordinary earthy rocks,
like the Unsurpassable Treasure
He longs to put
within our ordinary earthy selves.

Maude Carolan

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