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.

A Plan for the Fullness of Time--May 4, 2016


Blessed are you, Lord Jesus;
you come in the name of the LORD.
Son of God and Son of David,
you come in the name of the LORD,
a plan for the fullness of time—
come to gather up all things in yourself.
Humble our hearts, that we may
make amends for our many iniquities
and by your grace serve as
your covenant people.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 99; 147:1-11; 9; 118
Lev. 26:27-42
Eph. 1:1-10
Matt. 22:41-46
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 118:26
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
          We bless you from the house of the LORD. 

Lev. 26:41b-42
…if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.  [The LORD, through Moses, speaking to Israel about those who will survive his punishments]

Eph. 1:9-10
[God] has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Matt. 22:43-45
[Jesus] said to [the Pharisees], “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls [the Messiah] Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’”?  If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?”

For Those Trapped in Warfare--May 3, 2016


Gracious God, righteous and merciful,
you desire everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.

Hear our prayer for those who find themselves
in the midst of killing and carnage and war;
what chance have they to hear, let alone
understand, the word of the kingdom?

Grant that somehow peace may come to them;
hasten the day when they may lie down
where no one can make them afraid.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 98; 146; 66; 116
Lev. 26:1-20
1 Tim. 2:1-6
Matt. 13:18-23
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 116:5
 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
          our God is merciful. 

Lev. 26:6a
And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid…

1 Tim. 2:3
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. 13:19
“…When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
…”  [Jesus to his disciples]

From the Snare of the Fowlers--May 2, 2016


O Lord our God, we have escaped
like a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
You have brought us out from the land
of Egypt, and we are your servants.

Make us good soil for the seeds
you sow, so that we may bring forth
grain, leading lives worthy of Jesus,
fully pleasing to you, as we bear
fruit in every good work and
grow in the knowledge of you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 145; 124; 115
Lev. 25:35-55
Col. 1:9-14
Matt. 13:1-16
       
Selected Verses
Ps. 124:7
We have escaped like a bird
          from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
          and we have escaped.

Lev. 25:55
For to me the people of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Col. 1:10
…so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.

Matt. 13:8
“…Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  …”  [Jesus to the crowds gathered around his boat]

To Guard Against All Kinds of Greed--May 1, 2016


Lord God,

You give to all generously and ungrudgingly,
for great is your steadfast love toward us,
and your faithfulness endures forever.

We ask you to give us wisdom, that we may be on guard
against all kinds of greed—honest in our dealings with
one another, and remembering there is more to
our lives than an abundance of possesions.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 93; 150; 136; 117
Lev. 25:1-17
James 1:2-8, 16-18
Luke 12:13-21

Selected Verses
Ps. 117:2
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
          and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD!

Lev. 25:17
You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.

James 1:5
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 

Luke 12:15
And [Jesus] said to [the crowd], “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

To Restore Our Souls--Apr. 30, 2016


Sometimes you lead us on a hard road;
may we never weary of doing what is right,
but show us how to benefit from sabbath rest,
when you lead us beside still waters and
make us lie down in green pastures
and restore our souls.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 92; 149; 23; 114
Lev. 23:23-44
2 Thess. 3:1-18
Matt. 7:13-21

Selected Verses
Ps. 23:2-3a
[The LORD] makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; 
he restores my soul. 

Lev. 23:23
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:  Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts.

2 Thess. 3:13
Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

Matt. 7:14
“…For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.  …”  [Jesus to the crowds on the mountain]

We who Trust in Our Wealth--Apr. 29, 2016


We who trust in our wealth, in the abundance of our riches—
can we not afford to take care of the poor and the alien?
Lord Jesus, strengthen our hearts in good works,
that in everything we may do to others 
as we would have them do to us. 

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 148; 49; 138
Lev. 23:1-22
2 Thess. 2:1-17
Matt. 7:1-12

Selected Verses
Ps. 49:6
 …those who trust in their wealth
          and boast of the abundance of their riches? 

Lev. 23:22
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the LORD your God.

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.

Matt. 7:12
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.  …”  [Jesus to the crowds on the mountain]

To Love as if We Had Been Refugees--Apr. 28, 2016


In your goodness, O God, provide for the needy,
including those who endure persecutions and afflictions.
Though Jesus admonished us not to worry about
what we ourselves will find to eat or to drink or to wear,
clearly he did not intend us to neglect others who
are hungry, thirsty, or naked—of whom there are many
in our world today.  In particular show us how
to love refugees as ourselves—for once were not we
refugees? 

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 47; 147:12-20; 68; 113
Lev. 19:25-37
2 Thess. 1:1-12
Matt. 6:25-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 68:10
…your flock found a dwelling in [your heritage];
          in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

Lev. 19:34
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. 

2 Thess. 1:4
Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.

Matt. 6:31
“…Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ …”  [Jesus to the crowds on the mountain]