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.

The One Broken Body--April 17, 2014

In distress they cry aloud to you, Jesus;
the hearts of the starving are stricken,
withered like grass; even if they had
bread they are too wasted to eat it.

You took bread, blessed it, broke it,
and gave it to us as your broken body.
The hungry, too, are part of the one body;
as we eat the bread, remind us of the hungry.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 27; 147:12-20; 126; 102
Lam. 2:10-18
1 Cor. 10:14-17; 11:27-32
Mark 14:12-25

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

Lam. 2:18
Cry aloud to the Lord!  O wall of daughter Zion!  Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night!  Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite!

1 Cor. 10:17                                                                                                                                              
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

Mark 14:22
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”

The Stone the Builders Rejected--April 16, 2014

The builders rejected the stone,
and the gates sank to the ground,
and the bars lay ruined and broken,
and the prophets saw no vision of you.

But you do not want to cause us pain;
out of your abundant love for us,
you healed the brokenhearted,
bound up their wounds.

And as for the stone
that the builders rejected,
you made it chief cornerstone.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5; 147:1-11; 27; 51
Lam. 2:1-9
2 Cor. 1:23-2:11
Mark 12:1-11

Selected Verses
Ps. 147:3
[The LORD] heals the brokenhearted,
          and binds up their wounds. 

Lam. 2:9
Her gates have sunk into the ground; he has ruined and broken her bars; her king and princes are among the nations; guidance is no more, and her prophets obtain no vision from the LORD.

2 Cor. 2:4
For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Mark 12:10-11
"…Have you not read this scripture: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'?"  [Jesus to the chief priests, scribes, and elders]

God's Praise Always in My Mouth--April 15, 2014

I stretched out my hands--
no one was there to comfort me;
yet I will bless my God at all times;
your praise shall be always in my mouth.
I was so utterly, unbearably crushed
that I despaired of life itself;
but at all times I will
bless you, God.

If I am asked,
by what authority
do I praise you when it
seems you have deserted me,
then I must reply, did Jesus come
from God, or was he of human origin?
O Jesus, let me ever trust in your authority!

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 34; 146; 25; 91
Lam. 1:17-22
2 Cor. 1:8-22
Mark 11:27-33

Selected Verses
Ps. 34:1
I will bless the LORD at all times;
          his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 

Lam. 1:17a
Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her…

2 Cor. 1:8
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.

Mark 11:29-30
Jesus said to [the chief priests, scribes, and elders], "I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.  Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?  Answer me." 

To Hear the Groans of the Hungry--April 14, 2014

Father of mercies, God of all consolation,
you have consoled us in all our affliction.

Now enable us to console the afflicted--
may we hear the sound of their weeping,
the groans of those who search for bread;

and hearing, work for ways to feed them,
for Jesus knew what it was to be hungry.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 119:73-80; 145; 121; 6 
Lam. 1:1-2, 6-12
2 Cor. 1:1-7
Mark 11:12-25

Selected Verses
Ps. 6:8
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
          for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.

Lam. 1:11a
All her people groan as they search for bread; they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength. 

2 Cor. 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 

Mark 11:12
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, [Jesus] was hungry.

Riding on a Donkey, Comes Our King--April 13, 2014

Heart and flesh, we sing for joy to you, O Living God,
whom no one has ever seen or can see;
to you be honor and eternal dominion.

Look, our King comes to us, triumphant and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey's colt.
We will be your people, you our God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 150; 42; 32
Zech. 9:9-12
1 Tim. 6:12-16
Zech. 12:9-11, 13:1, 7-9

Selected Verses
Ps. 84:2b
 …my heart and my flesh sing for joy
          to the living God.

Zech. 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!  Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!  Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

1 Tim. 6:16
It is [God] alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

Zech. 13:9
And I will put this third into the fire, refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, "They are my people"; and they will say, "The LORD is our God."

When We Sit in Darkness like the Dead--April 12, 2014

When our life has been crushed;
when like the dead we sit in darkness
dark enough to be felt; and when our outer
nature is wasting away, we must not lose heart.
Stretch out your hand to us, dear God, and we will
take heart; day by day call us and renew our
inner nature.  Then we will throw off our
cloak, spring up, and come to Jesus.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 43; 49; 31; 143
Exod. 10:21-11:8
2 Cor. 4:13-18
Mark 10:46-52

Selected Verses
Ps. 143:3
For the enemy has pursued me,
          crushing my life to the ground,
          making me sit in darkness like those long dead. 

Exod. 10:21
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt."

2 Cor. 4:16
So we do not lose heart.  Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Mark 10:49b-50
And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you."  So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.

The Name Alone Exalted--April 11, 2014

When we have some form of power over others,
it is easy to exalt ourselves against them--
to try to keep them under our control.

But dear Jesus, you came to serve,
not to be served--to give your life for us.
We proclaim you Lord, ourselves your slaves.

And we praise your name, your name that is
alone exalted; for your glory is above
both earth and heaven.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 22; 148; 105; 130
Exod. 9:13-35
2 Cor. 4:1-12
Mark 10:32-45

Selected Verses
Ps. 148:13
 Let [everyone] praise the name of the Lord,
          for his name alone is exalted;
          his glory is above earth and heaven. 

Exod. 9:17
"'…You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go.  …'"  [Moses quotes to Pharaoh the words of the LORD]

2 Cor. 4:5
For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake.                       

Mark 10:42
"…For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."  [Jesus to his disciples]