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.

O Taste and See--Feb. 20, 2018


[From March 7, 2006 archive]

We who think ourselves
wise with all the wisdom
that comes from learning—
scholars trained in debate—
how little we know
of what is important to know.

We should learn by trying, tasting.
We would see that you are good,
find what happiness there is
for those who take refuge in you,
learn who is the true authority;
and it would astound us.

We would discover the imperative—
"Go and see if it is well
with your brothers and sisters
and the flock,"
and we would smack our lips
at the taste of real wisdom.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 34; 146; 25; 91
Gen. 37:12-24
1 Cor. 1:20-31
Mark 1:14-28

Selected Verses
Ps. 34:8
O taste and see that the LORD is good;
            happy are those who take refuge in him.

Gen. 37:14a
So [Israel] said to [Joseph], "Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me."

1 Cor. 1:20
Where is the one who is wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Mark 1:22
They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

A Wild Beast in the Wilderness--Feb. 19, 2018

[from Feb. 22, 2010 archive]

Jealously is a wild beast in the wilderness of our lives. 
Jealousy is a tool Satan uses to divide us, brother and
sister from sister and brother.  Our divisions grieve you,
and when we pretend to be superior to others, you

humble us.  We may complain, but in our heart of hearts
we know your judgments are right.  Save us from hasty
assumptions that spring from jealousy; free us instead
to keep your faithfulness in mind, and to be accepting.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 119:73-80; 145; 121; 6
Gen. 37:1-11
1 Cor. 1:1-19
Mark 1:1-13

Selected Verses
Ps. 119:75
I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right,
            and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.

Gen. 37:11
So his brothers were jealous of [Joseph], but his father kept the matter in mind.

1 Cor. 1:13
Has Christ been divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Mark 1:13
[Jesus] was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Why Should the Innocent Suffer?--Feb. 18, 2018


[From Feb. 26, 2012 archive]

God of Justice and Mercy,
steadfast love surrounds those who trust in you.
When is it fitting that people should suffer?

It may be fitting, one could argue,
that the wicked suffer torments
so they may be motivated to
turn to you with fasting,
sackcloth, and ashes.

But it does not seem fitting
for the innocent to suffer--surely not
the innocent one whom you sent to give
light in darkness.  Yet that innocent sufferer
is the pioneer of our salvation.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 150; 42; 32
Dan. 9:3-10
Heb. 2:10-18
John 12:44-50

Selected Verses
Ps. 32:10
Many are the torments of the wicked,
          but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

Dan. 9:3
Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

Heb. 2:10
It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

John 12:46
"…I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.  …"  [Jesus cries aloud]

No One Living Is Righteous before You--Feb. 17, 2018



God, do not enter into judgment with us; no one living is
righteous before you, and we confess that we are not.
Do not deal with us according to our uncleanness
and our transgressions, dear God, but may
the love with which you have loved
Jesus be in us, and he in us.
And make us content
with whatever
we have.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 43; 149; 31; 143
Ezek. 39:21-29
Phil. 4:10-20
John 17:20-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 143:2
 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
          for no one living is righteous before you.

Ezek. 39:24
I dealt with [the house of Israel] according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.

Phil. 4:11
Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 

John 17:26
"…I made your name known to [those that you have sent me], and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."  [Jesus, praying for his disciples]