Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"The Dungeon"

Until Resurrection Day

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

There is a pit
beneath the House of Caiaphas
a once dark, dismal, terrifying hole
into which prisoners
were lowered by ropes
under their armpits

Our Lord Jesus likely
was brought here directly
from the Garden of Gethsemane
on the night He was betrayed by Judas

The scene seems less horrific today
than when I was here in 1986
Then, it was easier to imagine
a terrifying incarceration
of a prisoner, especially
an innocent prisoner, alone
amid ominous dampness and vermin
in the very bowels of the earth

The pit is located beneath a church—
The Church of Saint Peter of Gallicantu
(of the cock’s crow)
named for where in the courtyard
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times

It’s been spiffed-up—
It’s brighter. The descent, easier
It’s not nearly as dismal

but, back in eighty-six
as Wayne Monbleau read Psalm 22
in that detestable dungeon

…they pierced
my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones…[1]

I closed my eyes, and literally
imagining how terribly Jesus suffered
to wash my sins away

Maude Carolan Pych
3/24/12 Rev 4 3/25/18

[1] Psalm 22:17-18 NASB

Notes: Rev. Wayne Monbleau, mentioned in this poem, is the host of "Let's Talk About Jesus" call-in radio counseling program. He was the leader of my 1986 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The above poem, "The Dungeon" appears in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. It is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For information, go to http://maudecarolanpych.com.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Wonders in the Sky...

Until Resurrection Day

Good Friday 2014, Packanack Lake, New Jersey
“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Joel 2:30-31 NASB

The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., Tuesday
We went outdoors to gaze at the sky
hoping to get a glimpse
of the first blood moon of the tetrad—
Passover, 2014

It was there, but we couldn’t see it
Dense clouds obscured our view

Blood moon or not, this week is crimson—
I’ve been thinking about blood in the Nile
blood on the lintels
death of the firstborn sons

I bought blood oranges in Fairway, yesterday
Had one for breakfast. It was sweet

Today is Good Friday—
I am meditating upon the atonement
the Cross, the death of my Savior

Now it’s evening—
I’m on my way to the Good Friday service
at the Jerusalem Center in Wayne
As I drive down Osborne Terrace
approaching Packanack Lake
the sky is incredible—amazing—red as blood
fiery red, red like I’ve never seen it before

As the setting sun shines on the still water
the lake mirrors the brilliant crimson firmament
and I can’t help thinking of old Moses
as he dipped his staff into the Nile river

At the Jerusalem Center, the dancers
fittingly extol the Lamb Who was slain, and
Jonathan speaks of the sun setting and rising—
endings and beginnings

and I feel God may be telling me something, or
am I so deeply aware of Him this holy week
that I see Him everywhere
and in every blessed thing

Maude Carolan Pych

Note: The above poem appears in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. You can order a copy online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. For information go to http://maudecarolanpych.com. The book is depicted below:

Here I am with a copy of my book
found on the shelves of Barnes & Noble
Woodland Park, NJ.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The End of the Book...

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: crosswalk.com


Twice I heard Tony Campolo deliver
his famous and rousing sermon
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’!
at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove
Tony drummed home the point
that everything may look bleak on Friday, but…
come Sunday…Sunday changes everything!

Now, I’m not thinking of just any dark and bleak Friday
I’m thinking about the original Good Friday—
thinking the only reason I can bear
to contemplate that good and terrible day
is because I know
a few days later there was
a mind-blowing, miraculous Sunday—
…Resurrection Sunday!

The disciples didn’t have
the advantage I have—
They didn’t understand
life after death
couldn’t comprehend
atonement for sin
just didn’t get it
that their teacher and friend, Jesus
could die upon a cross
for the sins of the world
They didn’t realize
they were in the middle of miracles
Didn’t know the future—
Sure, they may have read portions of the Scrolls
but they didn’t have the whole wonderful Book
I do have the whole Book
I’ve read ahead
and studied the pages      
I know that what follows
the Good Friday story
is the victorious hope-giving
hallelujah happy ending

I know my sins are forgiven
know I’m going to live forever
Yes, I know what happened next
and that makes all the difference

Maude Carolan Pych

Note: The above poem is one of 98 included in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. You can order it online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For information, go to http://maudecarolanpych.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Last Supper

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: messiahjesuschrist.org

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

We realize this is not the actual place
where Messiah celebrated
the Passover with His disciples
on the night before He suffered
not the very place
where He took bread and broke it
took the cup and shared it
not the room in which He said:

Do this in remembrance of Me

but here we are in the Land
here we are in the relative vicinity
We know the actual Upper Room is long gone
but this is a room and it’s upstairs
as near as we can possibly get
besides, in the spirit
we are here, transported
so this is plenty good enough

We break into praise and worship 
to celebrate the Passover meal
the taking of the towel
the washing of feet
the reclining at the table
the dipping of the bread
the very first communion
and another noteworthy occasion—

The presence of the Spirit
falls so mightily upon us
we expect blazing tongues of fire
to tumble down from Heaven
and alight upon our heads

Maude Carolan Pych

Note: The above poem is one of 98 poems in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. It is available online at Amazon & Barnes & Noble. For more information go to http://maudecarolanpych.com. The book is depicted below:

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
By Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, March 27, 2020

"What's So 'Good' About It?"

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: goodfridayquotes2019.com


When I was a child
I could hardly wait for Easter
could hardly wait to wear my new spring dress
and the flowery straw bonnet with velvet ribbon streamers
could hardly wait for the basket of marshmallow chocolates
tiny jelly beans and bright colored eggs
to magically appear in my bedroom
compliments of a big white bunny
Oh, the wonders of childhood’s imaginings…

I was glad about the Resurrection, too, of course

But first I had to get through Lent and "Good" Friday
first I had to sacrifice
and give a lot of serious consideration
to Jesus
first I had to think about a nice holy man
a terrible death
upon a horrible cross
and I had to try to understand
that He died that awful death
for me!

I preferred, of course
to think about chocolate, bunnies, and bonnets
rather than scourging, thorns
and nails

Good? I thought…
What could possibly
be "Good" about it?

I wanted to call it "Bad Friday"
"Cruel Friday" or
"Why Did God Have To Have It Happen That Way Friday?"

Of course
I was too young to understand…then

Now I realize
a basket-bearing bunny on Easter
cannot be compared to what happened
that particular cosmic Friday
at the Cross

Now I know
what's so "Good" about it

is that it's followed by

that Stone-Blown-Out-of-the-Tomb-Sunday!!!
that Jesus-Was-Dead…But-Now-He-Lives--Hallelujah-Sunday!!!

and that
my brothers and sisters

is very, very, very


Maude Carolan Pych

.Note: The above poem is included in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. The book is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For information go to http://maudecarolanpych.com. The book is depicted below:

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
By Maude Carolan Pych

Thursday, March 26, 2020

"Mary of Magdala"

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: christophercrandolph.wordpress.com


Mary of Magdala was privileged—
Like the disciples, she was among the few
who spent time with Jesus, followed Him
considered Him Teacher and Friend
She called Him, Rabboni

Mary had lived in darkness with demons
Jesus rid her of their terror
drew her into the Light
and she was grateful
She and the brethren experienced
the wonder of unconditional love
from He, Who personified it, perfectly

No doubt Mary was there
when Jesus spoke of things
the multitudes yearned to know
like living the beatitudes
like eternity, death and resurrection
like the prophetic sign of Jonah

Still, neither she nor the disciples
had a clear understanding
of cosmic events that were about to unfold

Then suddenly everything whirled
out of their control
Palm branch homage
hosannas and hallelujahs
quickly turned to betrayal
abduction and a mockery of a trial

There were thunderous shouts of

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

It was no longer safe
on the streets of Jerusalem
for His followers. They became fearful
Some went into hiding

Then, Jesus was Crucified—

The earth quaked
and the sky went dark

Mary rent her garments and wailed
Full of sorrow, what could she do
except go early the day after the Sabbath
to anoint His dead body

but when she arrived at the tomb
It was empty and His body was gone
Angels were there—
resplendent angels, who spoke of resurrection

Mary was weeping, utterly bewildered
She couldn’t grasp resurrection—
All she could wonder was
Where was her teacher’s body?
Who took His body away?

Suddenly, Rabboni appeared to her
He called her, tenderly by name, but
she couldn’t comprehend
that Him standing there, speaking to her
could possibly be true—
He was dead. Wasn’t He?

Mary was struggling to fathom
that the greatest knowledge
ever to befall anyone, anytime, anywhere
befell upon her at that amazing moment

This wasn’t a time for weeping—
This was time for rejoicing!

She extended her hand to touch Him—
He was Alive! Breathing!
Warm! With flesh and bones—
Indeed, He had risen from the grave!

Jesus told her to tell His disciples
so Mary quickly hurried off, proclaiming

I have seen the Lord!

Oh! It was starting to sink in—

The sin of the world was atoned for
by Jesus’ death on the Cross
and by His glorious Resurrection
He became the Firstfruit
of Life Forevermore!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Maude Carolan Pych

Note: The above poem appears in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. The book is available online at Amazon & Barnes & Noble. For information go to http://maudecarolanpych.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

In My Moment of Need...

Until Resurrection Day


Good Friday, 2002

sad, somewhat guilty…
Usually, I’d have found time
in the afternoon
to sit meditatively
and ponder the significance
of this day
Sometimes I wrote poems
or sat quietly in a church
I might have listened
to a radio preacher
or just sung, soulfully
about the house
that old, haunting hymn chorus

“O sometimes it causes me
to tremble…tremble…tremble”[1]

Eased into the day, holy
with a long, tepid bath
and a little book
about six miracles of Calvary –
Began contemplating the darkness
that fell upon the land
for three hours

but after that
the cares of this world
sent me scurrying helter-skelter
scrubbing the kitchen floor
returning curtains to JC Penney
grocery shopping for Easter dinner
Any meaningful reflections faded
in my slide from Mary to Martha

Returning from an errand, edgy
I was stopped at a light
on Union Boulevard
Don’t know what kind of a car
was in front of me
but in front of that car
was a black Bronco

On back of the Bronco
black on black was
the Crucifixion
Jesus, dying
in utter darkness
His head bent
shoulders thrust forward
like so many paintings I’ve seen

What was this?

After a moment, I realized
it was merely a reflection—
a silhouette cast by the shadow
of a telephone pole
and street lamp…
But it seemed real

I looked at the clock
It was 2:45

I drive up and down
Union Boulevard
day after day
year after year
but it was this day
this hour
this moment of need
He chose
to show me
yet again
all He did

for me

Maude Carolan

[1] “Were You There” was likely composed by African-American slaves in the 19th century. It was first published in William Eleazar Barton’s 1899 “Old Plantation Hymns.”

Note: The above poem is one of 98 poems about the Birth, Death & Resurrection of Jesus, included in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. The book, depicted below, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more information, go to http://maudecarolanpych.com.

Behold the Lamb...poetically!
By Maude Carolan Pych

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Name Above All Names

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: jesustrek.live


the tetragrammaton
the unutterable
four consonants
of the Most Holy Name
of the Great I Am
Who was, Who is
Who is to come

Whose radiant Face
eyes of mortals
could not behold
and live

Whose Holy Ark
mere mortals
could not touch
and live

until He
Who always was
came in the Person
of His Son

and mortals flocked
to hear Him speak
children climbed
upon His lap
sick and lowly
sought His touch
even grasped
at His hem

By His Word
even the dead arose

When He
Who always was
shed His innocent Blood
upon Calvary’s Cross
the thick woven veil
to the Holy of Holies
tore top to bottom
that all may enter in

By His Holy Name
Salvation comes

Now we know Him
as our Brother
Savior, Friend

We call Him

the Messiah

Maude Carolan

Monday, March 23, 2020

"Wood & Nails"

Until Resurrection Day

Image credit: heatonkent.com


His splintered hands sand silky smooth
every ding and bump and groove;

then Joseph measures every piece—
hammers nailheads with expertise.

He's built fine cradles, but this one
is extra-special. It's for his Son.

He moves Babe Jesus from the trough
to the cradle; He's swaddled, soft.

The manger scene, quaint and lowly
now more befits One Who's holy.

Joseph, years hence will reap a thrill—
he'll teach the boy carpentry skills.

Shoved on crossbeams, Jesus' body.
Crude wood. Workmanship is shoddy.

Men grab His wrists. They pound the nails.
They watch Him wince; His color pales.

They lift the Cross; taunt till He dies.
The air is pierced by women's cries.

The sky grows dark. The dry earth quakes.
O hear the hissing of the Snake…


Holy of Holies veil is torn—
Sin is atoned! Salvation born!

God’s Master Plan, now understood—
began and ends with nails and wood.

Maude Carolan

Note: The above poem appears in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!"  Elm Hill Press. It's available online at Amazon & Barnes & Noble. For information go to http://maudecarolanpych.com. The book is depicted below.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

About Mary Magdalene...

Until Resurrection Day

"Mary Magdalene" 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

Note: The above poem is included in my new book, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. It's available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For information go to http://maudecarolanpych.com. The book is depicted below: