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.

What Hosea Might Say of Us--Oct. 2, 2014


O God, there is no faithfulness or loyalty,
and no knowledge of you in the land.
There is much shouting--some one
thing and some another, until

no one understands anything.
But others stand quietly watching,
eager to catch the righteous doing wrong;
while they ignore those with hands full of bribes.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 116; 147:12-20; 26; 130
Hosea 4:1-10
Acts 21:27-36
Luke 6:1-11

Selected Verses
Ps. 26:9-10
Do not sweep me away with sinners,
          nor my life with the bloodthirsty, 
those in whose hands are evil devices,
          and whose right hands are full of bribes.

Hosea 4:1
Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel; for the LORD has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.  There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land.

Acts 21:34
Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another; and as [the tribune] could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered [Paul] to be brought into the barracks.

Luke 6:7
The scribes and the Pharisees watched [Jesus] to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him.
In Holy Splendor and Awe--Oct. 1, 2014

In holy splendor we would worship you, O God,
and in awe we tremble before you--
not out of fear, but because of your goodness
and the great things you have done.

Especially we praise you for Jesus,
who came to call not the righteous
but sinners like us to repentance.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 147:1-11; 132; 134
Hosea 3:1-5
Acts 21:15-26
Luke 5:27-39

Selected Verses
Ps. 96:9
Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
          tremble before him, all the earth.

Hosea 3:5
Afterward the Israelites shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

Acts 21:19-20a
After greeting [the Jerusalem brothers], Paul related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.  When they heard it, they praised God.

Luke 5:31-32
Jesus answered [those who complained about his eating with sinners], "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance."

The Fear of You--Sept. 30, 2014

[From Oct. 3, 2006 archive]

The fear of you before our eyes,
purge from our hearts all wicked thoughts;
transgression's voice that speaks to us
in cynical and doubting tone
from deep within our hearts remove,
and make us cling to you alone.

And if the fear be too severe,
remind us of your covenant
with animals and flying birds
and creatures creeping on the ground;
abolish bow and sword and war,
that safely we may all lie down,

or kneel together on the beach
to pray our prayers with ones we love;
then say farewell and board our ship,
separated, not alone--for you are near
to see us all our journey through,
whom in our hearts we trust and fear.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 12; 146; 36; 7
Hosea 2:16-23
Acts 21:1-14
Luke 5:12-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 36:1
Transgression speaks to the wicked
            deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
            before their eyes.

Hosea 2:18
I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.

Acts 21:5b-6
There [outside Tyre] we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another.  Then we [Paul and companions] went on board the ship, and they [disciples and their families from Tyre] returned home.

Luke 5:22
When Jesus perceived [the questionings of the scribes and Pharisees], he answered them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? ..."

Little We Know--Sept. 29, 2014

[From Oct. 2, 2006 archive]

How little we know:
it is you who gave us
the grain, the wine, the oil;
who lavished upon us silver and gold
that we used for Baal.

How little we know.
And if we do know,
overwhelmed by your largesse,
we send you away, for sinners we are,
and sinners we are wont to be. In silence yet
we wait for you; somehow we sense
from you comes our salvation.

Again the message,
the message of your grace,
a message able to build us up
and give us an inheritance among all
who are sanctified by your grace,
though little we know.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 62; 145; 73; 9
Hosea 2:2-15
Acts 20:17-38
Luke 5:1-11

Selected Verses
Ps. 62:1
 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
          from him comes my salvation. 

Hosea 2:8
[Your mother] did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold that they used for Baal.

Acts 20:32
And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.

Luke 5:8
But when Simon Peter saw [the boats full of fish], he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"
Have You Rejected Us, O God?--Sept. 28, 2014

When Jesus asked his disciples whether they had
understood his parables about the kingdom of heaven,
they answered "yes," but by their later actions they had not.

Neither do I--or perhaps I do not want to admit that I do.
I do not want to understand that you do not go out
with our armies; that you will not save us
by war or with weapons of war.

I do not want to hear we must not curse or kill
any of those who are made in your image,
even if they are our sworn enemies
and want to exterminate us.
Have you rejected our
warring ways,
O God?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 108; 150; 66; 23
Hosea 1:1-2:1
James 3:1-13
Matt. 13:44-52

Selected Verses
Ps. 108:11
 Have you not rejected us, O God?
          You do not go out, O God, with our armies. 

Hosea 1:7
"…But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen."  [The word of the LORD to Hosea]

James 3:9
With [the tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 

Matt. 13:51
[Jesus asked his disciples,] "Have you understood all this?"  They answered, "Yes."

For Those Who Seek to Destroy Us--Sept. 27, 2014


Forgiving God, when we are persecuted,
our lives are threatened, loved ones slaughtered,
it is our nature to strike back as we are able--
to slaughter, wreak havoc, destroy our enemies and
their loved ones with the power of the sword.

Paul's reaction to riotous threats from his enemies
was to send for and encourage his disciples.
As for Jesus, who everywhere suffered abuse and
disbelief, he spent his time healing the sick,
not finding ways to pay back his many enemies.
Pray make us act more like Jesus and Paul.

Lectionary Readings  
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
Esth. 9:1-32
Acts 20:1-16
Luke 4:38-44

Selected Verses
Ps. 63:9-10
But those who seek to destroy my life
          shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
          they shall be prey for jackals. 

Esth. 9:5
So the Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering, and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. 

Acts 20:1
After the uproar [a near-riot against the Christians] had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples; and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left for Macedonia. 

Luke 4:40
As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to [Jesus]; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 

What Have You to Do with Us, Jesus?--Sept. 26, 2014


What have you to do with us, Jesus?
Why do you interfere with our profits?
Let us alone! Must you always take the side
of people who suffer calamity and destruction--
of those who are shut in so that they cannot escape?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
Esth. 8:1-8, 15-17
Acts 19:21-41
Luke 4:31-37

Selected Verses
Ps. 88:8b-9a
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
        my eye grows dim through sorrow. 

Esth. 8:6
"…For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people?  Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?"  [Queen Esther to the king]

Acts 19:27
"…And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her."  [Demetrius inciting others who profited from silver shrines]

Luke 4:33-34a
In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  …"