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.

Not the Dragon and the Beast--Oct. 31, 2014


The dragon and the beast command with
the crack of whip and rumble of wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot;
the world has always relied on these
to supply its needs and its wants;
who can fight against them?

Lord God of hosts, our true authority--
happy is everyone who trusts in you.
If only we strive for your kingdom,
you will give us all that we need.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 148; 25; 40
Nahum 2:13-3:7
Rev. 13:1-10
Luke 12:13-31

Selected Verses
Ps. 84:12
 O LORD of hosts,
          happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Nahum 3:2
The crack of whip and rumble of wheel,
     galloping horse and bounding chariot! 

Rev. 13:4
[The whole earth] worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?"

Luke 12:30-31
For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

As Long as I Live, I Will Call on You--Oct. 30, 2014


You have inclined your ear to me, O God,
and I will call on you as long as I live.

Lord Jesus, your feet are on the mountains
to bring good tidings, to proclaim peace.

O Holy Spirit, in my hour of need
teach me what I ought to say.

Carry me away from evil,
and nourish me with your love.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 116; 147:12-20; 26; 130
Nahum 1:15-2:12
Rev. 12:7-17
Luke 11:53-12:12

Selected Verses
Ps. 116:2
Because [the LORD] inclined his ear to me,
          therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 

Nahum 1:15
Look!  On the mountains the feet of one
     who brings good tidings,
     who proclaims peace! 

Rev. 12:14
But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

Luke 12:11-12
"…When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say."  [Jesus to his disciples]

As Your Freed People, Justice and Love--Oct. 29, 2014


We will sing our songs to you, O God;
we will bless your name and tell of
your salvation from day to day.

When in the wilderness, you fed us
and you prepared a place for us,
breaking our yoke and bonds.

Now that you have set us free,
help us practice justice and
show our love for you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 147:1-11; 132; 134
Nahum 1:1-14
Rev. 12:1-6
Luke 11:37-52

Selected Verses
Ps. 96:2
 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
          tell of his salvation from day to day. 

Nahum 1:13
"And now I will break off his yoke from you
            and snap the bonds that bind you."
[The LORD to Judah]

Rev. 12:6
…and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

Luke 11:42
"But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others.  …"  [Jesus to his Pharisee dinner host]

Anger: Light or Darkness?--Oct. 28, 2014


God, you will reign forever and ever;
with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

But when I am angry,
remind me to consider--
is it right, or has the light  
in me turned into darkness?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 12; 146; 36; 7
Jonah 3:1-4:11
Rev. 11:14-19
Luke 11:27-36

Selected Verses
Ps. 36:9
For with you is the fountain of life;
          in your light we see light.

Jonah 4:4
And the Lord said [to Jonah], "Is it right for you to be angry?"

Rev. 11:15
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever."

Luke 11:35
"…Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness.  …"  [Jesus to the crowds]

Would a Sign from Heaven Change Us?--Oct. 27, 2014


When we envy the prosperity of the wicked,
your prophets are a torment to us, O God.
Would a sign from heaven change us?
Must we wait until our lives begin
to ebb away before we remember
you and our prayer comes to you?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 62; 145; 73; 9
Jonah 1:17-2:10
Rev. 11:1-14
Luke 11:14-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 73:3
For I was envious of the arrogant;
          I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Jonah 2:7
As my life was ebbing away,
     I remembered the LORD;
and my prayer came to you,
     into your holy temple. 

Rev. 11:10
…and the inhabitants of the earth will gloat over [the dead bodies of the prophets] and celebrate and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to the inhabitants of the earth.

Luke 11:14-26
Others, to test [Jesus], kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 

Give Us Steadfast Hearts--Oct. 26, 2014


Where two are three are gathered in your name,
Lord Jesus, you are there among them.
You are steadfast in your love for us;
why should we flee from your presence?
Make our hearts steadfast, so that we
seek not our own advantage, but
that of the other.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 108; 150; 66; 23
Jonah 1:1-17a
1 Cor. 10:15-24
Matt. 18:15-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 108:1
 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
          I will sing and make melody.
          Awake, my soul! 

Jonah 1:3a
But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 

1 Cor. 10:24
Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.

Matt. 18:15
"If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.  If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

To Receive the Gift of Your Holy Spirit--Oct. 25, 2014


Everlasting God, you created heaven and what is in it,
the earth and what is in it, the sea and what is in it.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
our lips will praise you, and we will look
to you, the God of our salvation.
We will wait for you; you will hear us.
We will ask you to give us the good gift of  
your Holy Spirit, and we will receive it from you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
Micah 7:1-7
Rev. 10:1-11
Luke 11:1-13

Selected Verses
Ps. 63:3
 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
          my lips will praise you. 

Micah 7:7
But as for me, I will look to the LORD,
     I will wait for the God of my salvation;
     my God will hear me.

Rev. 10:5-6a
Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it…

Luke 11:13
"…If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  [Jesus to his disciples]