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.

Why Should Our Hearts Be Troubled?--April 23, 2017

[From April 19, 2009 archive]

O God, why should our hearts be troubled, if we believe in you?
We have tasted your goodness, how your steadfast love endures.

You have remembered us in our low estate, rescued us from our foes.
For every living creature you have provided food.  No one can block

the work of your hand.  Teach us to be as innocent before you
as newborn infants, receptive and eager to receive your pure,

spiritual milk, that we may grow into your salvation.
Surely, O God, your steadfast love endures forever.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 93; 150; 136; 117
Isa. 43:8-13
1 Peter 2:2-10
John 14:1-7
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 136:23-25
It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
            for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
            for his steadfast love endures forever;
who gives food to all flesh,
            for his steadfast love endures forever.

Isa. 43:13
I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
            there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
            I work and who can hinder it?

1 Peter 2:2-3
Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

John 14:1
“…Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.      [Jesus to the eleven disciples]

The Blast of the Ruthless--April 22, 2017

[From April 18, 2009 archive]

We have experienced the blast of the ruthless,
the alien noise, and the anguish of pain;

but we also have known the joy of relief
as we lie down and you restore our souls.

You shade us from the heat and replace
noisy clamor with the quiet of still waters.

Even the bellow of the song of the ruthless
must not prevent us from telling of your mercy.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 92; 149; 23; 114
Isa. 25:1-9
Acts 4:13-31
John 16:16-33
.          
Selected Verses
Ps. 23:2-3a
            He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
            he restores my soul.

Isa. 25:4b-5
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
            the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
            the song of the ruthless was stilled.

Acts 4:17
“…But to keep [the news of the healing by Peter and John] from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”  [The high priest and members of his council, to one another]

John 16:21
“…When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come.  But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.      [Jesus to his eleven disciples, at table with them]

Tonight It Is Enough to Know--April 21, 2017

[From April 17, 2009 archive]

I do not ask you to declare the things that are to come,
nor yearn to shine like the brightness of the sky;
I do not need to understand your power,
even how to say your holy name.

Tonight it is enough to know
you will not forsake the
work of your hands.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 148; 49; 138
Dan. 12:1-4, 13
Acts 4:1-12
John 16:1-15  

Selected Verses
Ps. 138:8
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
            your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
            Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Dan. 12:3
Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Acts 4:7
When [Annas the high priest and those around him] had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?"

John 16:13
“…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.      [Jesus to his eleven disciples, at table with them]

Utterly Astonishing--April 20, 2017

[From April 28, 2011 archive]

Lord Jesus, you are our salvation; and you would daily bear us up;
but too often we feel cut off from you, too quickly lose hope.

Open the graves we have dug ourselves into, revive us;
then send us out to bear fruit, fruit that will last.

It is utterly astonishing what can happen
when your Spirit fills our dry bones.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 47; 147:12-20; 68; 113
Ezek. 37:1-14
Acts 3:11-26
John 15:12-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 68:19
Blessed be the Lord,
            who daily bears us up;
            God is our salvation.      

Ezek. 37:11-12
Then [the LORD] said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel.  They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’  Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel.  …”

Acts 3:11
While [the man who had been lame from birth] clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished.

John 15:16b
“…And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.  …”  [Jesus to his disciples]

Marvelous Things to Amaze Us, God--April 19, 2017

[From April 8, 2015 archive]

Mighty King, lover of justice and righteousness,
we ask you to show us marvelous things,
to fill us with wonder, to amaze us;
still nothing we might ask for
could ever amaze us more
than the way you have
loved Jesus, and he
has loved us and
has invited us
to abide in
his love.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 99; 147:1-11; 9; 118
Micah 7:7-15
Acts 3:1-10
John 15:1-11
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 99:4
Mighty King, lover of justice,
          you have established equity;
you have executed justice
          and righteousness in Jacob. 

Micah 7:15
 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
          show us marvelous things.

Acts 3:10
…and [the people in the temple] recognized [the formerly lame man walking with Peter and John] as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

John 15:9
"…As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

Give Us Glad and Generous Hearts--April 18, 2017

[From April 7, 2015 archive]

Rise up and show us mercy, O God.
May your Spirit teach us everything;
remind us of all that Jesus said to us,
and give us glad and generous hearts,
for you have dealt bountifully with us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 98; 146; 66; 116
Isa. 30:18-26
Acts 2:36-47
John 14:15-31

Selected Verses
Ps. 116:7
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
          for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

Isa. 30:18a
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you;
          therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. 

Acts 2:46
Day by day, as [all who believed] spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts…

John 14:26
"…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

That Where He Is, We May Be Also--April 17, 2017


O God, maker of heaven and earth,
hear our cry; our help is in you.
When we go down to the land
whose bars close upon us
forever, free us from
being held in the
power of death.

Up from the pit, deliver
us to Jesus, that where
he is, we may be also.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 145; 124; 115
Jonah 2:1-10
Acts 2:14, 22-32
John 14:1-14
           
Selected Verses
Ps. 124:8
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
          who made heaven and earth.

Jonah 2:6b
 "…I went down to the land
          whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
          O LORD my God.  …" 
[Jonah, from the belly of the fish] 

Acts 2:14, 24
"…But God raised [Jesus] up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.  …"

John 14:3
"…And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]