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.

As We Have Been Forgiven--May 28, 2020

Father of orphans and protector of widows,
why should we think evil in our hearts?

In Christ you have forgiven us—
not by might, nor by power,

(as the world knows
might and power)

but by your Holy Spirit.
As we have been forgiven,
may we forgive one another,
and be kind and tenderhearted.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 47; 147:12-20; 68; 113
Zech. 4:1-14
Eph. 4:17-32
Matt. 9:1-8

Selected Verses
Ps. 68:5
Father of orphans and protector of widows
          is God in his holy habitation.

Zech. 4:6
[The angel] said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.  …”

Eph. 4:32
…and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Matt. 9:4
But Jesus, perceiving [the skeptics’] thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  …”

A Stronghold for the Oppressed--May 27, 2020

Many people are oppressed, Lord.
Pray be a stronghold for them
in these times of trouble.

Some lack shelter from the heat,
no protection from storms;
help us find a refuge
for them.

Those who should know better
are misled by evil doctrine,
and when help appears
beg it to go away.

It is a sad, sad story—
a very old one.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 99; 147:1-11; 9; 118
Isa. 4:2-6
Eph. 4:1-16
Matt. 8:28-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 9:9
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
          a stronghold in times of trouble.

Isa. 4:5b-6
Indeed over all the glory there will be a canopy.  It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Eph. 4:14
We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.

Matt. 8:34
Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

To Be Grounded in Love--May 26, 2020

Merciful God, most gracious,
you do not see as mortals see,
for you look into our hearts.

I am quick to make promises,
quick to say I will follow you,
but I am readily discouraged.

In my heart I cherish grievances,
blame others for my own faults,
do everything to protect my ego.

May the power of the Spirit
strengthen my inner being;
Christ, dwell in my heart
and ground me in love.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 98; 146; 66; 116
1 Sam. 16:1-13a
Eph. 3:14-21
Matt. 8:18-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 66:18
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
          the Lord would not have listened.

1 Sam. 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Eph. 3:16-17
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, [the Father] may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 

Matt. 8:19-20
A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

In Confidence, Through Faith--May 25, 2020

O God, you are near to all who call on you,
to all who call on you in truth.

Through Christ Jesus we have access to you
in boldness and confidence through faith.

Lord, wherever we go, you are with us;
strengthen our faith to do your will.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 145; 124; 115
Josh. 1:1-9
Eph. 3:1-13
Matt. 8:5-17

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:18
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
          to all who call on him in truth.

Josh. 1:9
“…I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  [The LORD, to Joshua]

Eph. 3:11-12
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that [God] has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Matt. 8:13
And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.”  And the servant was healed in that hour.

Who Are We to Answer God’s Call?--May 24, 2020

We praise you, O God; great is
your steadfast love toward us.

With such love from you,
can we refuse the call of love?

Your faithfulness endures forever—
how can we hesitate to follow your call,
or question that we have authority to do so?  

I do not intend to tread on snakes or scorpions,
but I should not fear to tackle hate and prejudice.
I am no Moses, but dare I not speak truth to power?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 93; 150; 136; 117
Exod. 3:1-12
Heb. 12:18-29
Luke 10:17-24

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

Exod. 3:11
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 

Heb. 12:25
See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 

Luke 10:19
“…See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.  …”  [Jesus, to the seventy]

A Table Prepared for All--May 23, 2020

Christ Jesus, in the presence of our enemies
you prepare a feast for all of us
to share at your table together,
break down walls that divide.

You are our peace; put your Spirit on us all;
no longer we and they, us or them;
hostility and jealousy disappeared,
we follow you down the mountain.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 92; 149; 23; 114
Num. 11:16-17, 24-29
Eph. 2:11-22
Matt. 7:28-8:4

Selected Verses
Ps. 23:5a
You prepare a table before me
          in the presence of my enemies…

Num. 11:29
But Moses said to [Joshua], “Are you jealous for my sake?  Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!”

Eph. 2:14
For [Christ Jesus] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

Matt. 8:1
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him…

Your Grace, Not My Doing--May 22, 2020

God, I want you to guard my feet,
and not to be cut off in darkness;

I want your regard for me,
not to have you far away.

I want to act on your words,
avoiding a disastrous fall.

But just when I think this is all up to me,
you remind me that by your grace I am saved.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 148; 49; 138
1 Sam. 2:1-10
Eph. 2:1-10
Matt. 7:22-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 138:6
 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly;
          but the haughty he perceives from far away.

1 Sam. 2:9
"[The LORD] will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail.  …”  [Hannah, praying]

Eph. 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.

Matt. 7:26-27
“…And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”  [Jesus, ending his sermon to the crowd on the mountain]