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.

Fouled with Our Feet--May 22, 2015


Creator God, you have given us a beautiful world,
and the heavens should be glad, the earth should rejoice,
the sea should roar, and the field exult over its goodness.

We have built beautiful sanctuaries in which to worship you,
which is commendable, but nothing can compare with
the beauty of your sky and sea, earth and field.

Yet in our worried and distracted lives
we fail to rejoice in the beauty we have received--
worse, in selfish thoughtlessness we destroy the fullness
of the sea and the richness of the soil, fouling air and stream
without regard for future generations.  God have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 148; 49; 138
Ezek. 34:17-31
Heb. 8:1-13
Luke 10:38-42

Selected Verses
Ps. 96:11-12a
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
        let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
        let the field exult, and everything in it. 

Ezek. 34:18-19
Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture?  When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?  And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?  [The LORD, judging his flock]

Heb. 8:5a
[Earthly priests] offer worship in a sanctuary that is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly one…

Luke 10:41
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things…"

As Wax Melts before the Fire--May 21, 2015

[From June 9, 2011 archive]

Lord Jesus, my constant desire is to justify myself.
On my own I am unable to turn from my transgressions,
but you are able to save those who approach God through you.
As smoke is driven away, as wax melts before the fire,
let my hubris and ambition vanish from your sight.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 47; 147:12-20; 68; 113
Ezek. 18:1-4, 19-32
Heb. 7:18-28
Luke 10:25-37

Selected Verses
Ps. 68:2
 As smoke is driven away, so drive [your enemies] away;
          as wax melts before the fire,
          let the wicked perish before God. 

Ezek. 18:30b
Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 

Heb. 7:25
Consequently [Jesus] is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Luke 10:29
But wanting to justify himself, [the lawyer] asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

A Heart of Stone, or a Heart of Flesh--May 20, 2015


We are only human, Lord Jesus, remind us of that.
By the power of your indestructible life,
reveal to us the Father,
that he may put your Spirit within us
and replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh--
with a heart to follow you and to obey your commandments.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 99; 147:1-11; 9; 118
Ezek. 11:14-25
Heb. 7:1-17
Luke 10:17-24

Selected Verses
Ps. 9:20
Put them in fear, O LORD;
          let the nations know that they are only human. Selah

Ezek. 11:19-20
"…I will give [the exiles returning to Israel] one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  …"  [The LORD to Ezekiel]

Heb. 7:16
…one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. 

Luke 10:22
"…All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  [Jesus to his disciples]

Not the Arrogance of the Strong--May 19, 2015

[From June 7, 2011 archive]

God, not for you is the arrogance of the strong
or the way of the wicked.  You stand with the
alien; you uphold the orphan and the widow.

For the defenseless, the oppressed, you offer hope,
a steadfast anchor of the soul, to enter where Jesus entered.
With joy we return to you--do not let our joy become arrogant.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 98; 146; 66; 116
Ezek. 7:10-15, 23b-27
Heb. 6:13-20
Luke 10:1-17

Selected Verses
Ps. 146:9
The LORD watches over the strangers;
            he upholds the orphan and the widow,
            but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Ezek. 7:24b
I will put an end to the arrogance of the strong,
            and their holy places shall be profaned.

Heb. 6:19-20a
We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered…

Luke 10:17
The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!"

Bound by Cords of Love--May 18, 2015


The heavens are yours, O God, but
you have given us the earth,
and we can do with it as we please.

True, there are strings attached
to keep us from destroying ourselves,
but they are only cords of love,
and you will permit us to break them.

When the days drew near for
Jesus to be taken up, he was bound
by these cords, but he did not
break them.  Instead he set his face
to go to Jerusalem--and went.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 145; 124; 115
Ezek. 4:1-17
Heb. 6:1-12
Luke 9:51-62

Selected Verses
Ps. 115:16
The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
          but the earth he has given to human beings. 

Ezek. 4:8
See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.  [The LORD to Ezekiel]

Heb. 6:13
And we will do this, if God permits.

Luke 9:51
When the days drew near for [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

Created in Christ for Good Works--May 17, 2015


We give you thanks, O God of heaven--
your steadfast love endures forever.
We are what you have made us,
created in Christ Jesus for good works
that you have prepared to be our way of life,
but we can be a rebellious people.
Sometime we hear your words;
sometimes we refuse to hear.
Help us be faithful disciples,
every day more like Jesus.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 93; 150; 136; 117
Ezek. 3:16-27
Eph. 2:1-10
Matt. 10:24-33, 40-42

Selected Verses
Ps. 136:26
O give thanks to the God of heaven,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.

Ezek. 3:27
But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God”; let those who will hear, hear; and let those who refuse to hear, refuse; for they are a rebellious house.  [The LORD to the prophet]

Eph. 2:10
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Matt. 10:25a
"…it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

God, Is Your Language hard to Understand?--May 16, 2015


Dear God, why do we have so much trouble
understanding what you want us to know?
Why is your meaning concealed from us?
Is it that you speak to us in a strange
and obscure language?  Through
the ages people from many
different languages seem
to have listened to you.
Have we become dull
in understanding?
Or are we afraid
to ask what you
want us to know
because it might not
be what we want to hear?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 92; 149; 23; 114
Ezek. 3:4-17
Heb. 5:7-14
Luke 9:37-50

Selected Verses
Ps. 114:1
 When Israel went out from Egypt,
          the house of Jacob from a people of strange language…

Ezek. 3:5-6
For you are not sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel--not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand.  Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. 
[The LORD to Ezekiel] 

Heb. 5:11
About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. 

Luke 9:45
But [the disciples] did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it.  And they were afraid to ask [Jesus] about this saying.