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.

Lest the Power of Evil Deceive Us--Dec. 19, 2014


God, regard our prayer, and do not despise it,
lest the power of evil deceive us, lest from
one another we seek after our own glory
and fail to seek the glory that comes
only from you who are our God.
Then all jealousy will depart;
hostility will be cut off.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 102; 148; 130; 16
Isa. 11:10-16
Rev. 20:1-10
John 5:30-47

Selected Verses
Ps. 102:17
[The LORD] will regard the prayer of the destitute,
          and will not despise their prayer. 

Isa. 11:13
The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
          the hostility of Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
          and Judah shall not be hostile towards Ephraim. 

Rev. 20:7-8a
When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth…

John 5:44
"…How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? …"  [Jesus to those seeking to kill him]

The Strength of a Little Child--Dec. 18, 2014


I love you, O God, my strength;
Make me strong in the strength of your power--
not the power of wolf or leopard or lion,
but the strength of a little child.

For you did not send your Son
into the world  to condemn the world,
but that the world through him might be saved.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 18:1-20; 147:12-20; 126; 62
Isa. 11:1-9
Eph. 6:10-20
John 3:16-21

Selected Verses
Ps. 18:1
I love you, O LORD, my strength.                                                                                                                                                               
Isa. 11:6
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
     the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
     and a little child shall lead them. 

Eph. 6:10
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.

John 3:17
"…Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  …"  [Jesus to Nicodemus]

False Prophets, False Teachers--Dec. 17, 2014


Mighty God, you speak and summon the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting,
but those who lead your people
lead them into confusion.

Preserve us from false
prophets and false teachers;
save us from destructive opinions.
Even if from the wilderness, send us one
who proclaims repentance and forgiveness of sin.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 50; 147:1-11; 53; 17
Isa. 9:8-17
2 Pet. 2:1-10a
Mark 1:1-8

Selected Verses
Ps. 50:1
The mighty one, God the LORD,
            speaks and summons the earth
            from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Isa. 9:16
…for those who led this people led them astray,
     and those who were led by them were left in confusion. 

2 Pet. 2:1a
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. 

Mark 1:4
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

May the Cock Crow--Dec. 16, 2014


God, remind us of your truth.
We are in a land of deep darkness--
surrounded by so much falsehood that we
want to deny the truth when finally it comes to us.
Before it is too late, may the cock crow to wake us up;
until that wakening all wise counsel will be wasted,
and the plans of the peoples will be frustrated.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 33; 146; 85; 94
Isa. 9:2-7
2 Peter 1:12-21
Luke 22:60

Selected Verses
Ps. 33:10
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
          he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 

Isa. 9:2b
…those who lived in a land of deep darkness--
     on them light has shined. 

2 Peter 1:12
Therefore I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. 

Luke 22:60
But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about!" At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 

Even if You Hide Your Face--Dec. 15, 2014


Lord Jesus Christ, do not bring me
into the time of trial.
Make me effective and fruitful
in the knowledge of you.
Even if you hide your face from me,
help me to wait for you--
to wait patiently and hope in you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 145; 40; 67
Isa. 8:16-9:1
2 Pet. 9:1-11
Luke 22:39-53

Selected Verses
Ps. 40:1
 I waited patiently for the LORD;
          he inclined to me and heard my cry. 

Isa. 8:17
I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 

2 Pet. 9:8
For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Luke 22:40
When [Jesus] reached the place, he said to [his disciples], "Pray that you may not come into the time of trial." 

To Rejoice at the Voice of the Bridegroom--Dec. 14, 2014


Who shall climb up and stand before you?
The insolent tyrant?  The prideful and arrogant?
No, they who with reverence and awe gratefully
offer you an acceptable worship--their joy will
be fulfilled; they will greatly rejoice at
the voice of the bridegroom.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 24; 150; 25; 110
Isa. 13:1-13
Heb. 12:18-29
John 3:22-30

Selected Verses
Ps. 24:3
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
            And who shall stand in his holy place?

Isa. 13:11b
I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant,
     and lay low the insolence of tyrants.

Heb. 12:28
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe…

John 3:29
"…He who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice.  For this reason my joy has been fulfilled.  …"  [John the Baptist to his disciples]

Jesus and the Bread of Tears--Dec. 13, 2014


Lord Jesus, you were counted among the lawless,
and the bread you ate was the bread of tears,
and you had tears to drink in full measure.

You had the right to a far better life,
but the way you lived and died
was an example for us.

Help us walk in your way,
not in the way of those who
are full of  conspiracy theories,
or of those who live in fear and dread.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 90; 149; 80; 72
Isa. 8:1-15
2 Thess. 3:6-18
Luke 22:31-38

Selected Verses
Ps. 80:5
 You have fed [your people] with the bread of tears,
          and given them tears to drink in full measure. 

Isa. 8:11-12
For the LORD spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread.

2 Thess. 3:9
This was not because we do not have that right [to eat bread without paying for it], but in order to give you an example to imitate. 

Luke 22:37
"…For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was counted among the lawless'; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled."  [Jesus to his disciples]