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.

Until You Have Mercy Upon Them--Aug. 21, 2018


[From Aug. 22, 2006 archive]

The world is full of suffering,
people whose eyes look to you,
until you have mercy upon them.

And the world is full of brutal people,
people who suppose you support them
as they attack the innocent and unsuspecting.

It is not new, this persecution by the self-righteous,
who view it their God-appointed privilege to eradicate
all who differ from them and then to appropriate their land.

It is not new,
not to have
your love in us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Judges 18:1-15
Acts 8:1-13
John 5:30-47

Selected Verses
Ps. 123:2
As the eyes of servants
            look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
            to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
            until he has mercy upon us.

Judges 18:10
“…When you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people.  The land is broad—God has indeed given it into your hands—a place where there is no lack of anything on earth.”  [Five spies report about Laish to the Danite tribe, urging its capture.]

Acts 8:1b
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.

John 5:42
“…But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.      [Jesus, to the authorities]

You Only Want Our Lives--Aug. 20, 2018


[From Aug. 15, 2016 archive]

Truly you astonish us, Lord Jesus;
you astonish us, and your works astonish us.
We rejoice in you and give thanks to your holy name.
Forgive us when we presume to manipulate you
by indulging in pious acts and ritual,
when all you want us to do is
to give you our lives.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Judges 17:1-13
Acts 7:44-8:1a
John 5:19-29

Selected Verses
Ps. 97:12
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
          and give thanks to his holy name!

Judges 17:13
Then Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because the Levite has become my priest."

Acts 7:59
While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

John 5:20
The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.

The Words of My Mouth, the Meditations of My Heart--Aug. 19, 2018



May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be acceptable to you, O God, my rock and my redeemer.
We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth;
let me tell you the whole truth, Lord, holding nothing back.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
Judges 16:15-31
2 Cor. 13:1-11
Mark 5:25-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
          be acceptable to you,
          O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Judges 16:17a
So [Samson] told [Delilah] his whole secret…

2 Cor. 13:8
For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

Mark 5:33
But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before [Jesus], and told him the whole truth.