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.

Truth in the Inward Being--Aug. 18, 2017


Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus, Son of David.
You who desire truth in the inward being--
teach me wisdom in my secret heart,
drive out all my foolishness,
and grant that I may
know your will.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
2 Sam. 15:19-37
Acts 21:37-22:16
Mark 10:46-52

Selected Verses
Ps. 51:6
You desire truth in the inward being;
          therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. 

2 Sam. 15:31b
And David said, "O LORD, I pray you, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."

Acts 22:14
"…Then [Ananias] said, 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice…'" [Paul, speaking to the people who had been rioting against him]

Mark 10:48
Many sternly ordered [Bartimaeus] to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 

Deceived and Deceiving--Dec. 17, 2017

[From Aug. 13, 2009 archive]

Like Absalom,
we deceive others;
like the accusers of Paul,
we deceive ourselves as well.

Jesus did not deceive others or himself.
He understood what would happen to him,
and he tried to make his followers understand.

You show us the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of life;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore--
but we must also face pain and sorrow.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97: 147:12-20; 16; 62
2 Sam. 15:1-18
Acts 21:27-36
Mark 10:32-45

Selected Verses
Ps. 97:11
You show me the path of life.
            In your presence there is fullness of joy;
            in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

2 Sam. 15:11
Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom; they were invited guests, and they went in their innocence, knowing nothing of the matter.

Acts 21:27-36
For [the Jews from Asia] had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with [Paul] in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.

Mark 10:32
[Jesus and his disciples] were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.  He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him…

To Lack One Thing--Aug. 16, 2017


His father's attention was
the one thing Absalom asked for;
the only thing James requested of Paul
was to show he obeyed the law of Moses;
the psalmist said that to give you pleasure,
O God, we need to hold you in awe
and hope in your steadfast love.
The rich man lacked one thing:
to sell all he had and follow Jesus.
Then, dear God, what do I lack most?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 89:1-18; 147:1-11; 1, 33
2 Sam. 14:21-33
Acts 21:15-26
Mark 10:17-31

Selected Verses
Ps. 147:10-11
[The LORD's] delight is not in the strength of the horse,
          nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
          in those who hope in his steadfast love.

2 Sam. 14:32
Absalom answered Joab, "Look, I sent word to you: Come here, that I may send you to the king with the question, 'Why have I come from Geshur?  It would be better for me to be there still.'  Now let me go into the king's presence; if there is guilt in me, let him kill me!" 

Acts 21:24
"…Join [the four men under a vow], go through the rite of purification with them, and pay for the shaving of their heads.  Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself observe and guard the law.  …"  [James and the elders to Paul]

Mark 10:20
Jesus, looking at [the man who asked what to do to inherit eternal life], loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." 

When We Need You, Where Are You, God?--Aug. 15, 2017


Where are you, O God, when we need you?
Where are you when we are weeping,
when our hearts are breaking,
when our only food is tears,
when our minds are on
one we have lost?

Give us the mind of a little child,
and a mind to say, "Your will be done."

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 42; 146; 102; 133
2 Sam. 14:1-20
Acts 21:1-14
Mark 10:1-16

Selected Verses
Ps. 42:3
My tears have been my food
          day and night,
while people say to me continually,
          "Where is your God?"

2 Sam. 14:1
Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s mind was on Absalom.

Acts 21:13-14
Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?  For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."  Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, "The Lord’s will be done."

Mark 10:15
"…Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." [Jesus to his disciples]

We Plead Our Case, and Watch--Aug. 14, 2017


Merciful God, we plead our case to you, and watch.
We mourn when we lose family or friends;
day after day we yearn for them,
grieving to not see them.

Console us with your Spirit,
that we may be your salty people,
comforting others in their mourning,
and living in peace with one another.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5; 145; 82; 29
2 Sam. 13:23-39
Acts 20:17-38
Mark 9:42-50

Selected Verses
Ps. 5:3
 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
          in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

2 Sam. 13:37-39
But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur.  David mourned for his son day after day.  Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years.  And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.

Acts 20:37-38
There was much weeping among [all the Ephesian elders]; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again.  Then they brought him to the ship.

Mark 9:50
"…Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?  Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."  [Jesus to his disciples]

A Choice, and Another Choice--Aug. 13, 2017


We have a choice--to seek gratification
at the expense of the other person,
or to rejoice in the other's success,
even if it comes at our own expense.

If we are strong, we have another choice--
to become angry at the failings of the weak,
or to put up with them, not to please ourselves,
but for the purpose of building up the weaker one.

Search me, O God, try me and know my heart,
and lead me away from all wicked ways
and into your way everlasting.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 103; 150; 117; 139
2 Sam. 13:1-22
Rom. 15:1-13
John 3:22-36

Selected Verses
Ps. 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
          test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
          and lead me in the way everlasting.

2 Sam. 13:16
But [Tamar] said to [Amnon], "No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me." But he would not listen to her. 

Rom. 15:1-2
We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.

John 3:29b-30
"…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.  He must increase, but I must decrease."  [John the Baptizer to his disciples]

Life and Death, All with God--Aug. 12, 2017

[From Aug. 6, 2011 archive]

You turn us back to dust, and say,
"Turn back, you mortals."

For a week King David fasted and prayed,
but his baby son died.

Eutychus fell three stories and died,
but in Paul's arms he revived.

Jesus taught his disciples he would be killed
and that he would rise again.

You give us life, death, rising again--
all with you, all mysteries.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 63; 149; 125; 90
2 Sam. 12:15-31
Acts 20:1-16
Mark 9:30-41

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

2 Samuel 12:23
" ...But now [my child] is dead; why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." [David, explaining to his servants after Bathsheba's child died]

Acts 20:9b-10
Overcome by sleep, [Eutychus] fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead.  But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, "Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him."

Mark 9:31
...for [ Jesus] was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again."