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.

When You Stand Before Us--June 22, 2017


Lord Jesus, when you stand before us
and at our right hand, our heart is glad.
Cast out our greedy eye, our falsehoods,
cursing, jealousy, hypocrisy, ostentation,
and desire for glorification,
that we may live in hope
and rejoice in you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 147:12-20; 16; 62
1 Sam. 2:27-36
Acts 2:22-36
Luke 20:41-21:4

Selected Verses
Ps. 62:4
Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
          They take pleasure in falsehood;
they bless with their mouths,
          but inwardly they curse. Selah

1 Sam. 2:29
"…'Why then look with greedy eye at my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?'…"  [The LORD speaking to Eli through a man of God]

Acts 2:25b-26
"…'I saw the Lord always before me,
          for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
          moreover my flesh will live in hope.  …' "  [Peter quoting a psalm to the Israelites]

Luke 20:45-46
In the hearing of all the people [Jesus] said to the disciples, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets.  …"

Though Some May Scoff at the Thought--June 21, 2017


God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
though some may scoff at the thought,
your steadfast love is upon us
and our hope is in you.
Whether young or old,
we live in your presence--
and dying, will still be alive to you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps.89:1-18; 147:1-11; 1; 33
1 Sam. 2:12-26
Acts 2:1-21
Luke 20:27-40

Selected Verses
Ps.89:33
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
          even as we hope in you.

1 Sam. 2:21b
And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.

Acts 2:13
But others sneered and said, “[The Galileans speaking in other languages] are filled with new wine.”

Luke 20:38
"…Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."  [Jesus to those who scoffed at the resurrection]

As the Eleven Prayed--June 20, 2017


Lord Jesus, in whom shall we put our trust?
You were able to perceive the craftiness
of those who tried to trick you;
you knew everyone's heart,
including that of the proud.
As the eleven disciples prayed
for your leading, teach us to do so.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 42; 146; 102; 133
1 Sam. 1:21-2:11
Acts 1:15-26
Luke 20:19-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 146:3
Do not put your trust in princes,
          in mortals, in whom there is no help. 

1 Sam. 1:3a
"…Talk no more so very proudly,
          let not arrogance come from your mouth…"  [Hannah's prayer]

Acts 1:24
Then [the eleven disciples] prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart.  Show us which one of these two you have chosen…" 

Luke 20:23a
But [Jesus] perceived [his questioners'] craftiness… 

Why Do We Look up to Heaven?--June 19, 2017


We are deeply troubled, Lord God, with
neither knowledge nor understanding.

We pour out our soul before you.
We walk around in darkness--

all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
We have rejected Jesus, the cornerstone;
Why, then, do we look up to heaven?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5; 145; 82; 29
1 Sam. 1:1-20
Acts 1:1-14
Luke 20:9-19

Selected Verses
Ps. 82
[The other gods] have neither knowledge nor understanding,
          they walk around in darkness;
          all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

1 Sam. 1:15
But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.

Acts 1:10-11
While [Jesus] was going [up] and [his disciples] were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.  They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?  …"

Luke 20:17-18
But [Jesus] looked at [the people] and said, "What then does this text mean:
     'The stone that the builders rejected
          has become the cornerstone'?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls." 

When Will these Plagues Be Ended?--June 18, 2017


O God, you work vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.

And you hear the groaning
of the little ones in South Sudan--
 starving, and their mothers have no milk;
not your will, that one of these should be lost.

We have not listened well to their groaning;
and if we hear, we only wonder--
when will these plagues
be ended?

Show us, we have a role to play
in ending them.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 103; 150; 117; 139
Exod. 6:2-13; 7:1-6
Rev. 15:1-8
Matt. 18:1-14

Selected Verses
Ps. 103:6
The LORD works vindication
          and justice for all who are oppressed. 

Exod. 6:5
I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.

Rev. 15:1
Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.

Matt. 18:14
"…So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost."  [Jesus to his disciples]

All Turn Back to Dust--June 17, 2017

[From June 16, 2007 archive]

We may say that love is strong as death, passion fiercer than the grave;
but the time comes we must bid farewell to those sealed to us;
for we are mortal, and you turn all back to dust.

Therefore, help us put all things in order,
agree with one another, live in peace.

Stay close to us, God of love and peace,
for we do not question your authority.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 63; 149; 125; 90
Song of Sol. 5:10-16; 7:1-7a; 8:6-7
2 Cor. 13:1-13
Luke 20:1-8

Selected Verses
Ps. 90:3
You turn us back to dust,
            and say, "Turn back, you mortals."

Song of Sol. 8:6
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
            as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
            passion fierce as the grave.
            Its flashes are flashes of fire,
            a raging flame.

2 Cor. 13:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell.  Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Luke 20:8
Then Jesus said to [the religious leaders}, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

Hidden from Our Eyes--June 16, 2017


Familiarity hides the beautiful from our eyes.
We grow accustomed to the face we once adored;
we fail to recognize the things that make for peace;
and even upon returning to a familiar place,
we may not find it--or our loved ones--
as we wish.

Your dwelling place is in our hearts, O Christ,
may we never lose sight of the beauty,
or weary of your presence there.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 148; 25; 40
Song Sol. 2:8-13; 4:1-4a, 5-7, 9-11
2 Cor. 12:11-21
Luke 19:41-48

Selected Verses
Ps. 84:1
How lovely is your dwelling place,
          O LORD of hosts! 

Song Sol. 4:1a
How beautiful you are, my love,
          how very beautiful!

2 Cor. 12:20a
For I fear that when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish…

Luke 19:41
As [Jesus] came near and saw [Jerusalem], he wept over it, saying, "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes. …"