I am an emeritus professor from Cornell University and a Commissioned Lay Preacher in the Presbyterian Church (USA). For many years I have followed the Daily Lectionary as printed in the Mission Yearbook of my church. For each day of a two-year cycle, the lectionary lists four psalms and three other scriptural passages--usually one from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. My practice is to copy down a verse or two from one of the psalms and from each of the other three passages. After I have written out all four selections, I reflect upon them, rearrange their order, and incorporate them into a meditation. Sometimes I retain much of the original wording; sometimes all that remains of a selection is an idea that was stimulated when I read the original words. All selections are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. For the Daily Lectionary, see the link below.

A Way of Salvation--Sept. 17, 2014


O God, you are great and abundant in power--
so far beyond anything we can comprehend
that our every effort ends only in futility.

Yet you have shown us a way of salvation--
to serve Jesus and follow him, for where he is,
there shall his servant be, and whoever serves him
you will honor.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48; 4
Job 42:1-17
Acts 16:16-24
John 12:20-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 147:5
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
          his understanding is beyond measure. 

Job 42:3b
"…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  …"  [Job answering the LORD]

Acts 16:17
While [the slave girl who had a spirit of divination] followed Paul and us, she would cry out, "These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation." 

John 12:26
"…Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.  …"  [Jesus to Philip and Andrew]

Suffering Ones who Plead for Help--Sept. 16, 2014


Millions of the world's poor plead for help.
They have had more than their fill
of the contempt of the proud,
the scorn of those at ease.

Dare we suppose they
have made a covenant
to serve us forever?

Lord Jesus, you raised
Lazarus from the dead.
Put your Spirit within us,
that we may rescue from death
the suffering ones who plead for help.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Job 40:1, 41:1-11
Acts 16:6-15
John 12:9-19

Selected Verses
Ps. 123:4
 Our soul has had more than its fill
          of the scorn of those who are at ease,
          of the contempt of the proud.

Job 41:4
"…Will [Leviathan] make a covenant with you to be taken as your servant forever?  …"  [The LORD questioning Job] 

Acts 16:9
During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."

John 12:17
So the crowd that had been with [Jesus] when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify.

Filled with the Fragrance of Love--Sept. 15, 2014


Generation after generation celebrates your abundant
goodness and sings aloud of your righteousness, O God.
Compared to you, we are of small account--what can we do?
We can commend one another to the grace of the Lord,
that the house may be filled with the fragrance of love.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Job 40:1-24
Acts 15:36-16:5
John 11:55-12:8

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:7
[Generations] shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
          and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

Job 40:3-4a
Then Job answered the LORD: "See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?

Acts 15:40
But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. 

John 12:3
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Wisdom Hard to Live by--Sept. 14, 2014

[From Sept. 16, 2012 archive]

If you have put any wisdom in my inner parts
or granted any understanding to my mind,
a central point is this: to worship you, O God,
I must reconcile myself to the one I hate.

Also, I cannot glorify myself, living in luxury,
if I leave the needy to live on an ash heap.
These may not be hard precepts to understand,
but, dear God, I find them hard to live by.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
Job 38:1, 18-41
Rev. 18:1-8
Matt. 5:21-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 113:7
[The LORD] raises the poor from the dust,
          and lifts the needy from the ash heap…

Job 38:36
"…Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind?  …"  [The LORD to Job]

Rev. 18:7a
"…As [Babylon the great] glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her a like measure of torment and grief.  …"  [A voice from heaven to God's people]

Matt. 5:23
"…So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.  …"  [Jesus to the crowds on the mountain]

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee--Sept. 13, 2014


May our meditation be pleasing to you,
O God, for we rejoice in you,
and we believe you
are a God
of joy.

The stars
all sang together
when your created the world;
the heavenly beings shouted for joy.
And whenever your people
learn what in Jesus
you have done,
we rejoice.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 104; 149; 138; 98
Job 38:1-17
Acts 15:22-35
John 11:45-54

Selected Verses
Ps. 104:34
 May my meditation be pleasing to [God],
          for I rejoice in the LORD.

Job 38:6-7
"…On what were [the earth's] bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?  …"  [The LORD to Job]

Acts 15:30-31
So [Paul and three companions] were sent off and went down to Antioch.  When they gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.  When its members read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation. 

John 11:45
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Why Weren't You there, God?--Sept. 12, 2014


How many the complaints
we pour out before you, O God;
how abundant the troubles we tell you.

We are quick to blame you for them all,
"Why weren't you there to protect
us when we needed you?"

Teach us to keep silence
as we listen to learn about
all your signs and wonders.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
Job 29:1, 31:24-40
Acts 15:12-21
John 11:30-44

Selected Verses
Ps. 142:2
I pour out my complaint before [the LORD];
          I tell my trouble before him. 

Job 31:35a
"…Oh, that I had one to hear me!  …"  [Job]

Acts 15:12
The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles.

John 11:32
When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 

One Maker, One Grace for All--Sept. 11, 2014

 [From Sept. 13, 2012 archive]

We have no good apart from you, Lord Jesus;
you have called us to get up quickly and come to you.

The call is not for us alone, but for people everywhere;
did not the same Maker fashion us all in the womb? 

By your grace salvation is for everyone;
quickly may we answer your call.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 147:12-20; 16; 62
Job 29:1, 31:1-23
Acts 15:1-11
John 11:17-29

Selected Verses
Ps. 16:2
 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
          I have no good apart from you.”

Job 31:15
"…Did not he who made me in the womb make [my slaves]?  And did not one fashion us in the womb? …"  [Job]

Acts 15:11
"…On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as [the Gentiles] will."  [Peter to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem]

John 11:28-29

When [Martha] had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you."  And when [Mary] heard it, she got up quickly and went to [Jesus].