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.

Who Are We, to Hinder God?--Aug. 27, 2016


You are God, and we are not.
You have made us, and we are yours--
your people, the sheep of your pasture.
All this should be a great comfort to us,
but instead it can be a great challenge.
Who wants to be fashioned like clay,
destined for dust?  Lord, remind us:
we do not know what you know.
Teach us to accept who you are
and who we are, lest we
hinder you in
loving us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
Job 9:1, 10:1-9, 16-22
Acts 11:1-18
John 8:12-20
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 100:3
Know that the LORD is God.
          It is he that made us, and we are his;
          we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Job 10:9
"Remember that you fashioned me like clay; and will you turn me to dust again?  …"  [Job, lamenting to God]

Acts 11:17
"…If then God gave [the Gentiles] the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?"  [Peter to the apostles and believers in Judea]

John 8:14
Jesus answered [the Pharisees], "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.  …"

Nobody to Be Left Out--Aug. 26, 2016


Your invitation was unequivocal, Jesus.
It was to kings and commoners, young and old,
women and men--you show no partiality.
We try to resist you, want to limit your invitation
to people more like ourselves, but we fail.
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, you said.
To accept your invitation, we too must
be ready to accept everyone.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
Job 9:1-15, 32-35
Acts 10:34-48
John 7:37-52
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 148:1a, 11-12
Praise the LORD!…
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
          princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
          old and young together!

Job 9:4
"[God] is wise in heart, and mighty in strength--who has resisted him, and succeeded?   …"  [Job]

Acts 10:34
Then Peter began to speak to [Cornelius and his household]: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality…"

John 7:37-38a
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.  …"

A Voice I Have Not Known--Aug. 25, 2016

O God, you know when I speak on my own
it is my own glory I seek, not yours,
and the words of my mouth
are only a great wind.
Instead, help me listen
for a voice I have not known,
saying what you have given others
to say to me.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
Job 8:1-10, 20-22
Acts 10:17-33
John 7:14-36
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 81:5b
I hear a voice I had not known… 

Job 8:1-2
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered [Job]:  "How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind?  …"

Acts 10:33b
"…So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say."  [Cornelius to Peter]

John 7:18
"…Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.  …"  [Jesus, speaking in the Temple]

Surrounded for Good or for Ill?--Aug. 24, 2016


O God, the psalmist and Job agreed
that you surround your people;
 the psalmist considered this desirable,
but to Job it seemed diabolical.
Some in the crowd thought Jesus good,
others thought him a deceiver.
What you made clean, O God, let no one
call profane.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
Job 6:1, 7:1-21
Acts 10:1-16
John 7:1-13
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 125:2
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
          so the LORD surrounds his people,
          from this time on and forevermore. 

Job 7:17-18
"…What are human beings, that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them, visit them every morning, test them every moment?  …"  [Job]

Acts 10:15
The voice said to [Peter] again, a second time, "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." 

John 7:12
And there was considerable complaining about [Jesus] among the crowds.  While some were saying, "He is a good man," others were saying, "No, he is deceiving the crowd." 

Words of Spirit and Life--Aug. 23, 2016


Jesus, you speak the words of spirit and life.
Speak to me, when I feel no help in me,
when my every resource is drained.
As Peter healed and energized
Aeneas, heal and energize me;
save me by your name
and vindicate me by
your might.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
Job 6:1-4, 8-15, 21
Acts 9:32-43
John 6:60-71
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 54:1
 Save me, O God, by your name,
          and vindicate me by your might. 

Job 6:12-13
"…Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?  In truth I have no help in me, and any resource is driven from me.  …"  [Job]

Acts 9:34-35
Peter said to [the man bedridden eight years], "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!"  And immediately he got up.  And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

John 6:63
"…It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bread of Heaven--Aug. 22, 2016


Jesus, Bread of Heaven, who came for our salvation,
mortals are born to trouble just as sparks fly upward--
or so it often seems to us--but your steadfast love is
as high as the heavens, and your faithfulness
extends to the clouds.
Teach us to live in awe of you
and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
Job 4:1, 5:1-11, 17-21, 26-27
Acts 9:19b-31
John 6:52-59
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 57:10
For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
          your faithfulness extends to the clouds.

Job 5:7
"…but human beings are born to trouble just as sparks fly upward.  …" [Eliphaz to Job]

Acts 9:31
Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up.  Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

John 6:58
"…This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died.  But the one who eats this bread will live forever."  [Jesus, teaching in the Capernaum synagogue]

Holy, Holy, Holy--Aug. 21, 2016


Lord God the Almighty, holy, holy, holy--
who was and who is and who is to come:
Though sometimes my words have
supported those who stumbled,
have firmed up feeble knees,
when harm comes to me
and touches me, yes,
I may be dismayed.

But you gave us Jesus,
and those who heard him
were astounded at his wisdom
and at his many deeds of power.
Jesus is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble;
in his love I will not fear.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
Job 4:1-6, 12-21
Rev. 4:1-11
Mark 6:1-6a
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 46:1-2
God is our refuge and strength,
          a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
          though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea…

Job 4:4-5
"…Your words have supported those who were stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees.  But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed.  …"  [Eliphaz to Job]

Rev. 4:8
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside.  Day and night without ceasing they sing, "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come." 

Mark 6:2
On the sabbath [Jesus] began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man get all this?  What is this wisdom that has been given to him?  What deeds of power are being done by his hands!  …"