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.

If the Tree Is Known by Its Fruit--May 27, 2016

[From May 27, 2008 archive]

O God, you desire everyone to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth:

Save us from pride in our own prosperity
and the belief that we control our destiny,

for you tear down the house of the proud
and maintain the boundaries of the widow.

How can we be proud of the fruit we bear?
Without you neither fruit nor tree is good.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Prov. 15:16-33
1 Tim. 1:18-2:15
Matt. 12:33-42
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 30:6
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
          “I shall never be moved.” 

Prov. 15:25
The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

1 Tim. 2:3-4
This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

Matt. 12:33
 "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. …"  [Jesus to the Pharisees]

Overflowing Faith and Love--May 23, 2016


You amaze us, Son of David,
with the faith and love that are in you,
which by your grace overflow for us
and cover all our offenses.
We rejoice in you, Jesus,
and give thanks to 
your holy name.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Prov. 10:1-12
1 Tim. 1:1-17
Matt. 12:22-32
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 97:12
 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
          and give thanks to his holy name!

Prov. 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

1 Tim. 1:14
…and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Matt. 12:23
All the crowds were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”

God, the Known and the Unknown--May 22, 2016

[From May 18, 2008 archive]

You know all about us,
how we are made of dust;
but our attempts to question
who you are come up empty—
words spoken without knowledge.
Still, we know something about Jesus.
Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords;
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away
the sin of the world. That is enough to know.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 103; 150; 117; 139
Job 38:1-11; 42:1-6
Rev. 19:4-16
John 1:29-34
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 103:14
For [the LORD] knows how we were made;
          he remembers that we are dust.

Job 38:1-2
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
   "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  …"

Rev. 19:16
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, "King of kings and Lord of lords."

John 1:29
The next day [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 

A Lament for Creation--May 21, 2016


O God, how manifold the works of your creation!
The heavens, the earth full of your creatures,
the seas great and wide, living things
both small and great--in wisdom
you have made them all.

What have we done,
what are we doing still,
to the beauty of your creation?
What evil perpetrating to destroy it?

With heat-trapping gases we litter the air
and disrupt the climate, and temperatures soar,
and oceans expand, and seas no longer know limits.
Some suffer flood while some suffer drought,
records are set for both cold and heat,
and destroying storms prevail.

God, grant us wisdom to stop the path
we are treading toward destruction and chaos;
grant courage to proclaim and seek climate justice--
for the rich pollute most, while the poor are most affected.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 104; 149; 138; 98
Prov. 8:22-36
3 John 1-15
Matt. 12:15-21
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 104:24-25
O LORD, how manifold are your works!
          In wisdom you have made them all;
          the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
          creeping things innumerable are there,
          living things both small and great. 

Prov. 8:27-29a
"…When [the LORD] established the heavens, I was there,
            when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
            when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
            so that the waters might not transgress his command…"
[The voice of wisdom calling to the people]

3 John 11
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good.  Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 

Matt. 12:18b
"…I will put my Spirit upon him,
            and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.  …"  [The Gospel writer quoting Isaiah.  The LORD is speaking.]

Wisdom in Our Secret Heart--May 20, 2016


Lord Jesus, you walked in the way
of righteousness, along the paths of justice;  
teach us wisdom in our secret heart, we pray.
Teach us what it means to desire mercy,
not sacrifce; fill our hearts with
love, that we may walk in
your commandments.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
Prov. 8:1-21
2 John 1-13
Matt. 12:1-14
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 51:6
You desire truth in the inward being;
          therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. 

Prov. 8:20
"…I walk in the way of righteousness,
            along the paths of justice  …"
[The voice of wisdom calling to the people]

2 John 6
And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning — you must walk in it.

Matt. 12:7
"…But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless.  …"  [Jesus to those who criticized his disciples for plucking grain on the Sabbath] 

If We Ask for Wisdom and Insight--May 19, 2016


I bless your name, Lord of heaven and earth;
you give me counsel, and in the night
my heart instructs me.
And this is the boldness
we have in Christ, that if we ask
anything according to your will, you hear us.

(Yet if we ask for wisdom and insight,
we may find you have hidden these
things from the wise and intelligent
and revealed them only to infants.)

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 147:12-20; 16; 62
Prov. 7:1-27
1 John 5:13-21
Matt. 11:25-30
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 16:7
 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
          in the night also my heart instructs me. 

Prov. 7:4
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
            and call insight your intimate friend…

1 John 5:14
And this is the boldness we have in [the Son of God], that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Matt. 11:25
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants…”

Scoundrels or Villains?--May 18, 2016


We hope not to be scoundrels or villains, dear God,
but we admit our speech is not always straight;
yes, and at times we point fingers--perhaps
with our scoffing we even sow discord?

Are your commandments such burdens
we cannot obey them?  Remind us of your
deeds of power, the strength you can give us.
Open our eyes to see ourselves as you see us--
make us ready to repent our lack of love for you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 89:1-18; 147:1-11; 1; 33
Prov. 6:1-19
1 John 5:1-12
Matt. 11:16-24
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 1:1
Happy are those
          who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
          or sit in the seat of scoffers…

Prov. 6:12-14
A scoundrel and a villain
            goes around with crooked speech,
winking the eyes, shuffling the feet,
            pointing the fingers,
with perverted mind devising evil,
            continually sowing discord…

1 John 5:3
For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments.  And his commandments are not burdensome…

Matt. 11:20
Then [Jesus] began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent.