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.

To Walk Upright, or to Stumble--Oct. 20, 2018

[From Oct. 18, 2014 archive]

The builders thought they knew
which was the right stone
to use for the corner.
They did not.

The disciples
felt they knew who
were your true followers,
but like the builders were wrong.

O dear God, your ways are right;
the upright walk in them,
but transgressors
stumble.

Make us wise,
make us discerning,
to know and to understand,
lest we end up with the stumblers.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
Hosea 14:1-9
Acts 28:17-31
Luke 9:37-50

Selected Verses
Ps. 118:22
The stone that the builders rejected
          has become the chief cornerstone. 

Hosea 14:9
Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them.  For the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.

Acts 28:24
Some [of the leaders of the Jews in Rome] were convinced by what [Paul] had said, while others refused to believe. 

Luke 9:49-50
John answered, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us."  But Jesus said to him, "Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you."

Where Can We Go from Your Spirit?--Oct. 19, 2018


Ever Present God,
you will not leave us;
human help may be fickle,
or may not be able to go with us
in our travels, but always we have you.
And you have given us your Son Jesus,
with the admonition: Listen to him.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Hosea 13:9-16
Acts 28:1-16
Luke 9:28-36

Selected Verses
Ps. 139:9-10
If I take the wings of the morning
          and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
          and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Hosea 13:10a
Where now is your king, that he may save you?  [The LORD, speaking through the prophet to Israel]

Acts 28:6
[The natives of Malta] were expecting [Paul] to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god. 

Luke 9:35
Then from the cloud came a voice that said [to Peter, John, and James], "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" 

Shepherd of Israel, Lead Your Flock--Oct. 18, 2018



We know no God but you, our Savior.
You feed us in the wilderness;
when lost at sea, you bring
us safely to land.

 O Shepherd of Israel--
lead your flock, and help us
take up our cross daily
and follow you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
Hosea 13:4-8
Acts 27:27-44
Luke 9:18-27

Selected Verses
 Ps. 80:1
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
          you who lead Joseph like a flock! 

Hosea 13:4-5
Yet I have been the LORD your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.  It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 

Acts 27:44b
And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

Luke 9:23
Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  …"

A Prayer for Healing--October 17, 2018


Our lives are like the morning mist,
or the dew that goes away early;
like chaff that swirls from the
threshing floor, or smoke
drifting out a window.

We are in a deserted place,
violently pounded by the storm.
You heal the broken hearted, God;
O, bind up our wounds, we pray you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48; 4
Hosea 13:1-3
Acts 27:9-26
Luke 9:1-17

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

Hosea 13:3
Therefore [the people worshiping idols] shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes away early, like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window.

Acts 27:18
We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard…

Luke 9:12
The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place." 

We Do Not Live in a Corner…God Sees--Oct. 16, 2018


We do not live our lives in a corner;
nothing escapes your notice, God.
Ultimately, our trust must be in you,
not in other mortals, for when we die,
our plans perish, and we are of no help.
Grant us determination to wait for Jesus,
holding fast to love and justice as we wait.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Hosea 12:2-14
Acts 26:24-27:8
Luke 8:40-56

Selected Verses
Ps. 123:3-4
Do not put your trust in princes,
          in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
          on that very day their plans perish.

Hosea 12:6
But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.

Acts 26:26
"…Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner.  …"  [Paul to King Agrippa]

Luke 8:40
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 

We Herd the Wind--Oct. 15, 2018

[From Oct. 10, 2016 archive]

O loving God, you are good to all, and
your compassion is over all you have made.
When we multiply falsehood and violence, we
herd the wind, pursuing the east wind all day long.
Strengthen us to repent and turn to you and do
deeds consistent with repentance.  Show us
how to share what Jesus has done for us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Hosea 11:12-12:1
Acts 26:1-23
Luke 8:26-39

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:9
The LORD is good to all,
          and his compassion is over all that he has made.

Hosea 12:1
Ephraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a treaty with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.

Acts 26:19-20
"After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. …"  [Paul]  

Luke 8:38-39
The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you."  So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

To Be Like the Canaanite Mother--Oct. 14, 2018


Jesus, you are the Holy One in our midst;
you showed us how to bless when reviled,
to endure when persecuted, to speak kindly
when slandered; but I am a very slow learner.

Dear Lord, the Canaanite mother came to you;
she knelt before you and asked you for help.
Why should I be reluctant to do as she did?
In distress I am calling you; rescue me.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
Hosea 11:1-11
1 Cor. 4:9-16
Matt. 15:21-28

Selected Verses
Ps. 81:7 
In distress you called, and I rescued you;
          I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
          I tested you at the waters of Meribah.  Selah 

Hosea 11:9
I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.

1 Cor. 4:12b-13a
When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. 

Matt. 15:25
But [the Canaanite mother] came and knelt before [Jesus], saying, "Lord, help me."