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.

We Cannot Deceive You, Jesus--Sept. 2, 2014


We cannot deceive you, O Jesus,
the way one person deceives another.

The poor are despoiled, the needy groan,
 rulers lay violent hands on the innocent--
Jesus, even on members of your church--
and we implore you to rise up and place
them in the safety for which they long.

Yet even as we plead we know that our
own hands are not completely free from
despoiling that causes the needy to groan.
Spare innocents from poverty and from
violence, O Jesus; and free us from
hypocrisy about our motives.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 12, 146, 36, 7
Job 12:1, 13:3-17, 21-27
Acts 12:1-17
John 8:33-47

Selected Verses
Ps. 12:5
 “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
          I will now rise up,” says the LORD;
          “I will place them in the safety for which they long.” 

Job 13:9b
Or can you deceive him, as one person deceives another?

Acts 12:1
About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church.

John 8:36
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Your Truth, O Lord, Will Make Us Free--Sept. 1, 2014


With you, O Lord, are wisdom and strength;
all those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you have not forsaken those who seek you.
We have seen your grace, your counsel and understanding;
now keep us faithful to you, with steadfast devotion;
may we continue in your word, that we may know your truth,
and your truth will make us free.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 62; 145; 73; 9
Job 12:1-6, 13-25
Acts 11:19-30
John 8:21-32

Selected Verses
Ps. 9:10
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
          for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Job 12:13
"With God are wisdom and strength; he has counsel and understanding.  …"  [Job]

Acts 11:23
When [Barnabas] came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion…

John 8:31-32
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Love Higher than the Heavens--Aug. 31, 2014


Holy God, your steadfast love is higher than the heavens,
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

We cannot begin to know the secrets of your wisdom;
our hearts are not pure enough to see you,
not even to open your sacred scroll;
but this we know, that what
you exact of us is
far, far less than
what our guilt deserves.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 108; 150; 66; 23
Job 11:6
Rev. 5:1-14
Matt. 5:1-12

Selected Verses
Ps. 108:4
For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens,
          and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Job 11:6
"…and that [God] would tell you the secrets of wisdom!  For wisdom is many-sided. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.  …"  [Zophar to Job]

Rev. 5:2-3
…and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?"  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it.

Matt. 5:8
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  …"  [Jesus to the crowds on the mountain]

When in Bitterness We Speak--Aug. 30, 2014


O Lord Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world.
We lift our hands to you; we call on your name.
When we speak in the bitterness of our soul
and forget the gift God gave us in you,
restore us to your light, lest we walk
in darkness and hinder God's will.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
Job 9:1, 10:1-9, 16-22
Acts 11:1-18
John 8:12-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 63:4
So I will bless you as long as I live;
          I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

Job 10:1
"I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  …"

Acts 11:17
"…If then God gave [Cornelius and his household] the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?"  [Peter to the apostles and believers in Judea]

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." 

Not in Chariots or in Horses, but in You--Aug. 29, 2014


O God, some take pride in economic strength,
some in military might, but if we have pride,
may it be in you.

You are wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who can resist you?  You show no partiality
among the nations; all who are thirsty
may come to you and drink.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
Job 9:1-15, 32-35
Acts 10:34-48
John 7:37-52

Selected Verses
Ps. 20:7
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
          but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God.

Job 9:4
"…[God] is wise in heart, and mighty in strength--who has resisted him, and succeeded?  …"  [Job]

Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter began to speak to [Cornelius and his household]: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.  …"

John 7:37-38a
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.  …"

May We Go where You Send Us--Aug. 28, 2014


Gracious God, you have delivered our souls
from death, our eyes from tears,
our feet from stumbling.
In gratitude, let us go
where you send us.

Through you may
we learn wisdom from
generations long past and the
teachings our Lord received from you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
Job 8:1-10, 20-22
Acts 10:17-33
John 7:14-36

Selected Verses
Ps. 116:8
For you have delivered my soul from death,
          my eyes from tears,
          my feet from stumbling. 

Job 8:10
"…Will [bygone generations] not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?  …"  [Bildad to Job]

Acts 10:33
"…Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come.  So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say."  [Cornelius the centurion, to Peter]

John 7:16
Then Jesus answered [those who asked how he had such learning], "My teaching is not mine but his who sent me.  …" 

A Prayer to Silence Our Tumult--Aug. 27, 2014


Jesus called the works of the world evil;
for that he was hated by the world.
Job, out of the anguish of his spirit,
complained in the bitterness of his soul.

Even Peter complained about the food
that you had made clean for him.
God, you calm the roaring waves;
will you calm the tumult of the peoples?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
Job 6:1, 7:1-21
Acts 10:1-16
John 7:1-13

Selected Verses
Ps. 65:7
 You silence the roaring of the seas,
          the roaring of their waves,
          the tumult of the peoples. 

Job 7:11
"Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.  …"  [Job]

Acts 10:15
The voice said to [Peter] again, a second time, "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." 

John 7:6-7
Jesus said to [his brothers], "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil.  …"