I am an emeritus professor from Cornell University and was 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.

Compassion for All God Has Made--Oct. 23, 2017


God, you are good to all; your compassion is over
all that you have made; but we have difficulty
appreciating anyone or anything unlike us.
Therefore we seek to exclude refugees
and fail to see the glory in variety.
May all the world bless your name.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
Jer. 44:1-14
1 Cor. 15:30-41
Matt. 11:16-24
Selected Verses
Ps. 145:9-10
The Lord is good to all,
          and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
          and all your faithful shall bless you. 

Jer. 44:14
…so that none of the remnant of Judah who have come to settle in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive or return to the land of Judah.  Although they long to go back to live there, they shall not go back, except some fugitives.

1 Cor. 15:40
There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. 

Matt. 11:18-19
"…For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'  Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."  [Jesus to the crowds]

Desolations or an Abundant Harvest?


Dear God, we see the desolations on the earth,
but you see a future with hope.
Open our hearts to listen eagerly for your word,
so we may fulfill your plans for us
as we labor for you in an abundant harvest.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
Jer. 29:1, 4-14
Acts 16:6-15
Luke 10:1-22, 17-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 46:8
Come, behold the works of the LORD;
          see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 

Jer. 29:11
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 

Acts 16:14
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth.  The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 

Luke 10:1-2
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.  He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.  …"

We Reject what God Values--Oct. 21, 2017

[From Oct. 15, 2005 archive]

The captain of the guard left behind
some of the poorest people of the land. 
We who consider ourselves important
are always dismissing the ones
whom you value. 

We would have disdained as delusional agitator
the prophet you sent to prepare the way. 
We would have rejected as worthless
the stone you made chief cornerstone. 
We would have left Christ for dead;
you raised him, the first fruits
of those who have died. 

You do marvelous things;
give us eyes to see them.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
Jer. 52:1-34
1 Cor. 15:12-29
Matt. 11:7-15

Selected Verses
Ps. 118:22-23
The stone that the builders rejected
            has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD's doing;
            it is marvelous in our eyes.

Jer. 52:16
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil.

1 Cor. 15:20
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

Matt. 11:10
"…[John the Baptist] is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'  …"  [Jesus to the crowds]

Who You Are; Who We Are--Oct. 20, 2017

[From Oct. 14, 2011 archive]

Lord Jesus, we know who you are--
the one who healed and cleansed,
brought good news to the poor.

And Jesus, you know who we are.
You have searched us and known us,
discerned our thoughts from far away.

There is nothing we can hide from you;
but by your grace we are what we are.
May your grace toward us not be vain!

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Jer. 38:14-28
1 Cor. 15:1-11
Matt. 11:1-6

Selected Verses
Ps. 139:1-2
O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
          you discern my thoughts from far away.

Jer. 38:14b
The king [Zedekiah] said to Jeremiah, "I have something to ask you; do not hide anything from me."

1 Cor. 15:10a
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.

Matt. 11:4-5
Jesus answered [John's disciples], "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.  …"

Sermons and Hymns, Justice and Cold Water--Oct. 19, 2017

[From Oct. 13, 2011 archive]

How precious is your steadfast love, O God,
and refuge in the shadow of your wings.

We build up your church when we offer hymns,
sermons, and other acts of worship;

also when we intercede for one unjustly punished--
or when we give a needed cup of cold water.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
Jer. 38:1-13
1 Cor. 14:26-40
Matt. 10:34-42

Selected Verses
Ps. 36:7
  How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
          All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Jer. 38:8-9
So Ebed-melech left the king’s house and spoke to the king [Zedekiah], "My lord king, these [officials] have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern to die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city."

1 Cor. 14:26
What should be done then, my friends?  When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.  Let all things be done for building up.

Matt. 10:42
"…and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple--truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."  [Jesus to his twelve disciples, as he was sending them out]

Teach Me, Jesus, to Do What Is Right--Oct. 18, 2017


There is a time to pray with the Spirit,
and also a time to pray with the mind.

Sometimes it is right to speak in secret,
but I confess that I do this far too often,
for secrets promote gossip and slander.
You have told us, Jesus, that nothing is
covered up that will not be uncovered;

teach me, then, to say nothing about
my neighbors' in their absence that
 I would not say in their presence.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48; 4
Jer. 37:3-21
1 Cor. 14:13-25
Matt. 10:24-33

Selected Verses
Ps. 15:2-3
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
          and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
          and do no evil to their friends,
          nor take up a reproach against their neighbors…

Jer. 37:17
Then King Zedekiah sent for [Jeremiah], and received him.  The king questioned him secretly in his house, and said, "Is there any word from the LORD?"  Jeremiah said, "There is!"  Then he said,  "You shall be handed over to the king of Babylon." 

1 Cor. 14:15
What should I do then?  I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also. 

Matt. 10:26
"…So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.  …"  [Jesus to his twelve disciples]

Let the Spirit Speak--Oct. 17, 2017


If we try to build up ourselves, Lord Jesus,
believing in our prosperity that we shall never be moved,
and we ignore your words, then we set ourselves up
for a great fall.

Teach us instead, to build up your church,
by listening for your Spirit to speak
through us or through others.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Jer. 36:27-37:2
1 Cor. 14:1-12
Matt. 10:16-23

Selected Verses
Ps. 30:6
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
          "I shall never be moved." 

Jer. 36:29
And concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah you shall say: Thus says the LORD, You have dared to burn this scroll, saying, Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will cut off from it human beings and animals? 

1 Cor. 14:4
Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church. 

Matt. 10:19-20
"…When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  …"  [Jesus to his twelve disciples]