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 Our Maker--Jan. 19, 2017


God our Maker, your steadfast love extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.  Your righteousness
is like the mighty mountains, your judgments
like the great deep.

Your kingdom is as if someone would scatter seed
on the ground, and days pass, and it sprouts
and it grows--we know not how.

How foolish we are to struggle against you--
the pot does not question the potter.
All we need to know is what
your will for us is.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
Isa. 45:5-17
Eph. 5:15-33
Mark 4:21-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 36:5-6
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
          your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
          your judgments are like the great deep;
          you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.

Isa. 45:9
Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
          earthen vessels with the potter!
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”?
          or “Your work has no handles”? 

Eph. 5:17
So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

Mark 4:26-27
[Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.  …"

When We Believe Our Own Wisdom Suffices--Jan. 18, 2017


Dear God, when we believe our own wisdom suffices,
you frustrate us, and we learn how foolish we are.
Turn us back to gather together in worship
as you sow your Word in our hearts.

Teach us how to imitate you, as beloved children:  
to live in your love, even as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us, a fragrant
offering and a sacrifice to you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48: 4
Isa. 44:24-45:7
Eph. 5:1-14
Mark 4:1-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 48:9
 We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
          in the midst of your temple. 

Isa. 44:25
…who frustrates the omens of liars,
          and makes fools of diviners;
who turns back the wise,
          and makes their knowledge foolish…

Eph. 5:1-2
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Mark 4:14
"…The sower sows the word.  …"  [Jesus to the twelve and others around him]

Give Me an Undivided Heart--Jan. 17, 2017


Give me an undivided heart, O God,
that I may walk in your truth,
and worship only you.

Help, Holy Spirit, for my eyes are shut,
and my mind as well; I cannot
see, cannot understand.

 I am blinded by my idols, my desire
to be approved, to be admired,
to be the best at all I do.

Living with my heart divided against itself,
living with such futility in my mind,
is not the way I learned Christ.
Forgive my idol worship.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Isa. 44:9-20
Eph. 4:17-27
Mark 3:19b-35

Selected Verses
Ps. 86:11
Teach me your way, O LORD,
          that I may walk in your truth;
          give me an undivided heart to revere your name. 

Isa. 44:18
[Those who worship idols] do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. 

Eph. 4:17, 20
Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds.  …That is not the way you learned Christ! 

Mark 3:24-25
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

God's Prisoners in Christ--Jan. 16, 2017


You have formed us, O God; we are your prisoners.
Christ calls us; help us to live worthy of his call.
Like wax melt away all that keeps us from him,
that with humility and gentleness--bearing with  
patience one another in love--your servants
 may come to Christ, answering his call.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Isa. 44:6-8, 21-23
Eph. 4:1-16
Mark 3:7-19a

Selected Verses
Ps. 97:5
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
          before the Lord of all the earth.

Isa. 44:21
Remember these things, O Jacob,
          and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
          O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 

Eph. 4:1-2
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…

Mark 3:13
[Jesus] went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him.

Can He Be the Messiah?--Jan. 15, 2017


Lord our God, we have this hope,
a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul,
that it is you who brought us up from slavery,
who for the sake of Jesus blots out our transgressions,
remembering our sin no more.  Can it be, he is the Messiah?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
Isa. 43:14-44:5
Heb. 6:17-7:10
John 4:27-42

Selected Verses
Ps. 81:10
 "…I am the LORD your God,
          who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
          Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.  …"

Isa. 43:25
 I, I am He
          who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
          and I will not remember your sins. 

Heb. 6:19
We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain…

John 4:28-29
Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!  He cannot be the Messiah, can he?"

Rooted and Grounded in Love--Jan. 14, 2017


When our hearts are hardened,
Lord, and we do not understand,
how greatly that must grieve you.

Come, Christ, dwell in our hearts
through faith, that we may be
rooted and grounded in love,
and with our whole hearts
sing your praise.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 104; 149; 138; 98
Isa. 42:18-43:13
Eph. 3:14-21
Mark 2:23-3:6

Selected Verses
Ps. 138:1
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
          before the gods I sing your praise…

Isa. 42:25
So [the LORD] poured upon [Israel] the heat of his anger
          and the fury of war;
it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
          it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.

Eph. 3:17
…and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

Mark 3:5
[Jesus] looked around at [his critics] with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” 

New Wine, Even if I Burst--Jan. 13, 2017


Christ Jesus, our Lord,
I am like an old wineskin;
but fill me with new wine,
even if it makes me burst.
I have lost my way;
guide me on a new road,
one I have not known.

Restore to me the joy
of your salvation, God,
and sustain in me
a willing spirit,
that, with boldness
and confidence,
I may, through faith,
have access to you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
Isa. 42:1-17
Eph. 3:1-13
Mark 2:13-22

Selected Verses
Ps. 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
          and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Isa. 42:16a
I will lead the blind
          by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
          I will guide them. 

Eph. 3:11-12
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him. 

Mark 2:22
"…And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins."  [Jesus to his critics]

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