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.

God Most High, Our God--Oct. 1, 2016


O God Most High, you are our God,
we seek you, our soul thirsts for you,
but our pride testifies against us,
and we stumble in our guilt.
We fail to listen to one
another, shout epithets,
but to the ungrateful
and the wicked, you
are kind. Remind us,
we are all your children;
help us love our enemies;
help us do good, and lend,
and expect nothing in return,
O God Most High, our God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 63; 149; 125; 90
Hosea 5:1-7
Acts 22:17-29
Luke 6:27-38
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 63:1
 O God, you are my God, I seek you,
          my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
          as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 

Hosea 5:5
Israel's pride testifies against him; Ephraim stumbles in his guilt; Judah also stumbles with them.

Acts 22:22-23
Up to this point [the protestors] listened to [Paul], but then they shouted, "Away with such a fellow from the earth!  For he should not be allowed to live."  And while they were shouting, throwing off their cloaks, and tossing dust into the air…

Luke 6:35
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 

Like a Stubborn Heifer--Sept. 30, 2016


God of my salvation, lead me in your truth,
and teach me, for I am like a stubborn heifer.
Lord Jesus, you spent the night in prayer before
you chose your disciples, and Paul asked you
what he was to do before you sent him
to Damascus.  By your Spirit,
show me your way.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 148; 25; 40
Hosea 4:11-19
Acts 21:37-22:16
Luke 6:12-26
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 25:5
 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
          for you are the God of my salvation;
          for you I wait all day long.

Hosea 4:16
Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the LORD now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?

Acts 22:10
"…I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?'  The Lord said to me, 'Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.'  …"  [Paul in chains, speaking to the crowd who had been mobbing him] 

Luke 6:12
Now during those days [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. 

In Patience to Wait--Sept. 29, 2016


All-knowing God, we know so little,
yet act as if we know so much--
as if we know better than you.

In our ignorance, we inflict great harm.
Teach us not to leap to conclusions,
but in patience to wait for you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 116; 147:12-20; 26; 130
Hosea 4:1-10
Acts 21:27-36
Luke 6:1-11
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
          and in his word I hope…

Hosea 4:6a
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.  [The LORD speaking through Hosea]

Acts 21:27b-28
[Jews from Asia] seized [Paul], shouting, "Fellow Israelites, help!  This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place."

Luke 6:2
But some of the Pharisees said [to Jesus], "Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" 

Living by the Law--Sept. 28, 2016


Lord Jesus, you lifted up the downtrodden
and were not afraid to eat with sinners;
in fact, you seemed to prefer their company
to that of the upright and well behaved.

You remind us that God loves us even when
we are fickle and turn to other gods.
We like it when you forgive us, but not when
you forgive others who break the rules.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 147:1-11; 132; 134
Hosea 3:1-5
Acts 21:15-26
Luke 5:27-39
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 147:6
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
          he casts the wicked to the ground.

Hosea 3:1
The LORD said to me again, "Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."

Acts 21:20-21
When [the elders] heard [about Paul's ministry to the Gentiles], they praised God.  Then they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the law.  They have been told about you that you teach all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs.  …"

Luke 5:31-32
Jesus answered [the complainers], "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance."

The Fear of You Before Our Eyes--Sept. 27, 2016

[From Oct. 3, 2006 archive]

The fear of you before our eyes,
purge from our hearts all wicked thoughts;
transgression’s voice that speaks to us
in cynical and doubting tone
from deep within our hearts remove,
and make us cling to you alone.

And if the fear be too severe,
remind us of your covenant
with animals and flying birds
and creatures creeping on the ground;
abolish bow and sword and war,
that safely we may all lie down,

or kneel together on the beach
to pray our prayers with ones we love;
then say farewell and board our ship,
separated, not alone—for you are near
to see us all our journey through,
whom in our hearts we trust and fear.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 12; 146; 36; 7
Hosea 2:16-23
Acts 21:1-14
Luke 5:12-26
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 36:1
Transgression speaks to the wicked
            deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
            before their eyes.

Hosea 2:18
I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.

Acts 21:5b-6
There [outside Tyre] we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another.  Then we [Paul and companions] went on board the ship, and they [disciples and their families from Tyre] returned home.

Luke 5:22
When Jesus perceived [the questionings of the scribes and Pharisees], he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?  …”

Little We Know--Sept. 26, 2016

[From Oct. 2, 2006 archive]

Little we know:
it is you who gave us
the grain, the wine, the oil;
who lavished upon us silver and
gold that we used for Baal.
How little we know.

And if we do know,
overwhelmed by your largesse,
we send you away, for sinners we are,
and sinners we are wont to be. In silence yet
we wait for you; somehow we sense
from you comes our salvation.

Again the message,
the message of your grace,
a message able to build us up
and give us an inheritance among all
who are sanctified by your grace,
though little we know.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 62; 145; 73; 9
Hosea 2:2-15
Acts 20:17-38
Luke 5:1-11
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 62:1
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
            from him comes my salvation.

Hosea 2:8
[My unfaithful wife] did not know
            that it was I who gave her
            the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished upon her silver
            and gold that they used for Baal.

Acts 20:32
“…And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.      [Paul to the Ephesian Elders]

Luke 5:8
But when Simon Peter saw [the catch of fish], he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" 

Gentleness Born of Wisdom--Sept. 25, 2016


God of all goodness and mercy, teach us to
learn from what is old and from what is new,
and grant us gentleness born of wisdom,
that our lives may reflect some portion
of the pity and compassion you
show for your people.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 108; 150; 66; 23
Hosea 1:1-2:1
James 3:1-13
Matt. 13:44-52
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 23:6a
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
          all the days of my life…

Hosea 2:1
Say to your brother, Ammi [My people], and to your sister, Ruhamah [Pitied].

James 3:13
Who is wise and understanding among you?  Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

Matt. 13:52
And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."