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.

If You Are Our Dwelling Place--Dec. 15, 2018


Lord, what is it like to have you for our dwelling place?
In your dwelling place, is there peace…always?
Is it a place where we are free from fear?
And when Satan sifts us like wheat,
will you protect us there?

When we dwell with you, O Lord,
are we responsible for strengthening  
our sisters and our brothers?
Will you let us in?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 90; 149; 80; 72
Isa. 8:1-15
2 Thess. 3:6-18
Luke 22:31-38

Selected Verses
Ps. 90:1
 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
          in all generations. 

Isa. 8:12
Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread.

2 Thess. 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.  The Lord be with all of you.

Luke 22:31-32
"Simon, Simon, listen!  Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."  [Jesus to Simon Peter]

The One Who Serves--Dec. 14, 2018


Christ, you are the one who serves.
You will regard the prayer of the destitute;
you will not grow weary or despise our prayer.
Comfort our hearts and strengthen them
in every good work and word,
that we also may serve.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 102; 148; 130; 16
Isa. 7:10-25
2 Thess. 2:13-3:5
Luke 22:14-30

Selected Verses
Ps. 102:17
He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
          and will not despise their prayer. 

Isa. 7:13
Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David!  Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?  …" 

2 Thess. 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Luke 22:27
"…For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?  Is it not the one at the table?  But I am among you as one who serves.  …"  [Jesus, to the apostles]

The Power of Evil Will Not Stand--Dec. 13, 2018

[From Dec. 9, 2010 archive]

Who is like you in power, O God;
and who is like you in steadfast love?
How glorious that you are marked
by these two traits together!

Mortals scheme their evil schemes;
they use all the craft and power of
evil to deceive and lead astray;

but the power of evil will not stand
against your power; and the plans
of evil shall not come to pass
against your steadfast love.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 18:1-20; 147:12-20; 126; 62
Isa. 7:1-9
2 Thess. 2:1-12
Luke 22:1-13

Selected Verses
Ps. 62:11-12a
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
            and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.

Isaiah 7:7-8b
…therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
     It shall not stand,
          and it shall not come to pass.
     For the head of Aram is Damascus,
          and the head of Damascus is Rezin.

2 Thess. 2:9-10a
The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing…

Luke 22:2
The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.

Christ Does Not Condemn Us--Dec. 12, 2018



You do not condemn us, O Jesus;
even though we are unworthy,
you send us to do your work:
to heal the brokenhearted,
to bind up their wounds.
By your power fulfill
every good resolve
and work of faith.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 50; 147:1-11; 53; 17
Isa. 6:1-13
2 Thess. 1:1-12
John 7:53-8:11

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

Isa. 6:8a
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"

2 Thess. 1:11
To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith …

John 8:10-11
Jesus straightened up and said to [the woman caught in adultery], "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  She said, "No one, sir."  And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."

When I Am Wise in My Own Eyes--Dec. 11, 2018


God the Lord,
I confess to being
wise in my own eyes,
shrewd in my own sight.
Let me hear what you will speak,
for you will speak peace to your people,
to your faithful, to those who turn to you
in their hearts.

Lord Jesus,
every day you would teach in the temple,
and at night you would go out to pray,
and all the people would rise early
to hear what you said to them.

Holy Spirit,
Teach me to rejoice always,
and pray without ceasing,
and in all circumstances
to give you thanks--
for this is your will
in Christ Jesus.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 33; 146; 85; 94
Isa. 5:18-25
1 Thess. 5:12-28
Luke 21:29-38

Selected Verses
Ps. 85:8
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
          for he will speak peace to his people,
          to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. 

Isa. 5:21
Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes,
     and shrewd in your own sight! 

1 Thess. 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

Luke 21:37-38
Every day [Jesus] was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called.  And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple. 

Uninhabited Houses--Dec. 10, 2018


Gracious God, Lord of hosts,
I do not suppose that climate change
is the catastrophe that the prophets and Jesus
were warning us about, but a real catastrophe is coming.
Already, climate change has caused houses to be left desolate;
large and beautiful homes are uninhabited because of
raging wildfires or rising waters.

There is reason to believe
that increasing scarcities of water
have been a factor in desolating warfare,
and surely battles over water rights will increase.
Deniers say there is peace and security;
they say no need to be alarmed,
but destruction comes.

We need your saving power, O God,
that your way may be known upon earth.
Grateful for the good earth you have given us,
show us how to work together to save it--
to preserve it for generations to come.  
Make your face shine upon us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 145; 40; 67
Isa. 5:8-17
1 Thess. 5:1-11
Luke 21:20-28

Selected Verses
Ps. 67:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us
          and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known upon earth,
          your saving power among all nations. 

Isa. 5:9
The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
Surely many houses shall be desolate,
          large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. 

1 Thess. 5:3
When they say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 

Luke 21:20
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.  …"  [Jesus, to his disciples]

When God Expects Justice--Dec. 9, 2018



Lord God of hosts,
you expect justice, but the world
is full of bloodshed; righteousness,
but the persecuted cry out for mercy.

Lead your people in what is right;
humble us to receive your wisdom;
for when we receive and practice it,
we will learn how right it is for us.

As we grow in grace and knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ, teach us
to pray and work for a new world,
where righteousness is at home.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 24; 150; 25; 110
Isa. 5:1-7
2 Peter 3:11-18
Luke 7:28-35

Selected Verses
Ps. 25:9
He leads the humble in what is right,
          and teaches the humble his way. 

Isa. 5:7
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts
          is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
          are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
          but saw bloodshed;
righteousness,
          but heard a cry!

2 Peter 3:13,18a
But, in accordance with [God's] promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Luke 7:35
"…Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children."  [Jesus, to his disciples, in the hearing of all the people]