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.

The War in Our Hearts--Dec. 18, 2017

The war breaks out not only in heaven,
but also, dear God, in our hearts.
You send light into the world,
but we love darkness.
You are near to all
who call on you in truth,
but we hide from you in fear.
Forgive our sinful ways.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 145; 40; 67
Gen. 3:8-15
Rev. 12:1-10
John 3:16-21

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
          to all who call on him in truth. 

Gen. 3:8
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 

Rev. 12:7
And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back…

John 3:19
"…And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  …"  [Jesus to Nicodemus]  

In Every Good Work and Word--Dec. 17, 2017


Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father,
you have loved us and through grace you
have given us eternal comfort and good hope.
Comfort our hearts and strengthen them in every
good work and word; we can do nothing on our own,
and we must seek to do not our will, but your will.
Be mindful, O God, of your mercy and of your
steadfast love--they have been from of old.
Bestow them upon the peoples plucked
from the lands you have given them,
and show us how we can help.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 24; 150; 25;110
Amos 9:11-15
2 Thess. 2:1-3, 13-17
John 5:30-47

Selected Verses
Ps. 25:6
Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
          for they have been from of old. 

Amos 9:15
I will plant them upon their land,
          and they shall never again be plucked up
          out of the land that I have given them,
                        says the LORD your God.

2 Thess. 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

John 5:30
"I can do nothing on my own.  As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.  …"  [Jesus to those who wanted to kill him]

Before the Mountains Were Brought Forth--Dec. 16, 2017


O God, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations; from everlasting
to everlasting you are God.
All the works that we do,
the books that we write,
the skyscrapers we erect,
all these will be torn down;
but in you, Lord, we take courage,
for you will be with us; your Spirit will
abide with us--we shall not fear.
Help us remember what we
have received and heard,
and obey it, and repent.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 90; 149; 80; 72
Hagg. 2:1-9
Rev. 3:1-6
Matt. 24:1-14

Selected Verses
Ps. 90:1-2
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
          in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
          or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
          from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Hagg. 2:4b-5
 …take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt.  My spirit abides among you; do not fear. 

Rev. 3:3a
"…Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent.  …"  [The angel of the church in Sardis to its members]

Matt. 24:1-2
As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.  Then he asked them, "You see all these, do you not?  Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down."

Lest Our House Be Left Desolate--Dec. 15, 2017


You are the one who searches minds and hearts.
You search me, and ask me if it is the time
for me to live in a comfortable house,
when millions live in misery and squalor.
Their hearts are stricken, withered like grass;
they are too wasted to eat bread, if they had bread.
Gather them under your wings, Lord Jesus, and show us
how to care for them, lest our house be left as desolate
as our works deserve.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 102; 148; 130; 16
Hagg. 1:1-15
Rev. 2:18-29
Matt. 23:27-39

Selected Verses
Ps. 102:4
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
          I am too wasted to eat my bread. 

Hagg. 1:3-4
Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

Rev. 2:23b
And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.

Matt. 23:37-38
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!  See, your house is left to you, desolate.  …"  [Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees]

Like Swallowing a Camel--Dec. 14, 2017


You have done great things for us, Lord God,
but we must listen to what the Spirit says to us.
For woe to us if we think we are your favorites--
that because of your love we are privileged
to neglect justice, mercy, and faith.
That would be swallowing
a camel.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 18:1-20; 147:12-20; 126: 62
Amos 9:1-10
Rev. 2:8-17
Matt. 23:13-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 126:2
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
          and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
          "The LORD has done great things for them." 

Amos 9:7
Are you not like the Ethiopians to me,
          O people of Israel? says the LORD.
Did I not bring you up from the land of Egypt,
          and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?

Rev. 2:17
Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Matt. 23:13-26
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.  It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.  You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!  …"  [Jesus to his accusers]



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If We Have Abandoned the Love We Had--Dec. 13, 2017

[From Dec. 9, 2015 archive]

If we have trampled on the needy,
and brought to ruin the poor of the land;
if we have closed our hearts to pity,
and with our mouths have spoken arrogantly;
if we have tied up heavy burdens, hard
to bear, and laid them on the shoulders of others,
unwilling to lift a finger to move them ourselves;
if we have abandoned the love we had at first,
forgive us, Lord Jesus, and remind us
how far we have fallen.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 50; 147:1-11; 53; 17
Amos 8:1-14
Rev. 1:17-2:7
Matt. 23:1-12

Selected Verses
Ps. 17:10
They close their hearts to pity;
            with their mouths they speak arrogantly.

Amos 8:4
Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
            and bring to ruin the poor of the land…

Rev. 2:4-5a
"…But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember then from what you have fallen…" [He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, to the angel of the church in Ephesus]

Matt. 23:4
"…[The scribes and Pharisees] tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them."  [Jesus to the crowds and his disciples]

Not a Call to Prophecy, but to Life--Dec. 12, 2017


Jesus, I think I have never heard behind me
a loud voice, calling me like a trumpet  
to go and prophesy to your people.
But when I read your words,
how I should love God
(all my heart, soul,
and mind), and my
neighbor as myself,
then my heart tells me that
you are speaking directly to me--
to hear these words has consequences.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 33; 146; 85; 94
Amos 7:10-17
Rev. 1:9-16
Matt. 22:34-46

Selected Verses
Ps. 85:8
 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
          for he will speak peace to his people,
          to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. 

Amos 7:15
"…and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'  …"  [Amos to Amaziah]

Rev. 1:9-10
I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet… 

Matt. 22:37-39
[Jesus] said to [the lawyer who tested him], "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  …"