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.

To the Tomb, after a Night of Vigil--April 23, 2014


After a night of vigil, the two Mary's went to the tomb;
there was a great earthquake, and an angel
rolled back the stone and sat on it.
And now we know we die,
but we come to life,
for you are King
(let the people
tremble).

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 99; 147:1-11; 9; 118
Exod. 12:40-51
1 Cor. 15:29-41
Matt. 28:1-16

Selected Verses
Ps. 99:1a
The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble! 

Exod. 12:42
That was for the LORD a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.  That same night is a vigil to be kept for the LORD by all the Israelites throughout their generations.

1 Cor. 15:36
Fool!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 

Matt. 28:1-2
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

Loosing the Bonds of Death--April 22, 2014


Pharaoh loosed the bonds of the Israelites
and hoped for a blessing while encircled by death.
We human beings know about death, though we try
to hide from it; and we find it hard to accept.

Yet harder to accept is resurrection from death,
and that you caused it to be through a human being.
Encircled by the bonds of death, release us, O God;
join us to the resurrection of Jesus the servant.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 98; 146; 66; 116
Exod. 12:28-39
1 Cor. 15:12-28
Mark 16:9-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 116:16
 O LORD, I am your servant;
          I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
          You have loosed my bonds. 

Exod. 12:32
"…Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone.  And bring a blessing on me too!"  [Pharaoh to Moses and Aaron]

1 Cor. 15:21
For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being…

Mark 16:11
But when [those who had been with Jesus] heard that he was alive and had been seen by her [Mary Magdalene], they would not believe it.

May Your Grace Not Be in Vain--April 21, 2014


All are in this life together--
we eat what everyone must eat;
by your grace we are what we are.
When fear seizes us, and we flee from
the very thing you want us to do,
may your light dawn in our
darkness--may your grace
for us not be in vain.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 145; 124; 115
Exod. 12:14-27
1 Cor. 15:1-11
Mark 16:1-8

Selected Verses
Ps. 97:11
Light dawns for the righteous,
          and joy for the upright in heart. 

Exod. 12:16c
…only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 

1 Cor. 15:10a
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.

Mark 16:8
So [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

In the Beginning, the Word--April 20, 2014


In the beginning you established the
world--it shall never be moved;
you are from everlasting.

Through Moses you taught
that the month of Passover
was the beginning of months.

And beginning with Moses our
risen Lord interpreted the things
about himself in all the scriptures.

In the beginning he was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God,
and from everlasting
will be God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 93; 150; 136; 117
Exod. 12:1-14
John 1:1-18
Luke 24:13-35

Selected Verses
Ps. 93:1c-2
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
         your throne is established from of old;
         you are from everlasting.

Exod. 12:1-2
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  

Luke 24:27
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

Because of Your Righteousness, Jesus--April 19, 2014


Lord Jesus, the enemy pursued you,
crushing your life to the ground,
making you sit in darkness
like those long dead.

Our high priest,
so severely tested,
far beyond our testing,
yet you were without sin.

For you our eyes flow with tears.
Let your Spirit be in us, that we may
have life because of your righteousness.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 43; 149; 31; 143
Lam. 3:37-58
Heb. 4:1-16
Rom. 8:1-11

Selected Verses
Ps. 143:3
 For the enemy has pursued me,
          crushing my life to the ground,
          making me sit in darkness like those long dead. 

Lam. 3:49
My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite…

Heb. 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 

Rom. 8:10
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 

Delivered from Our Futile Ways--April 18, 2014


O God, you do not willingly afflict or grieve anyone;
but we were delivered from our futile ways,
not with silver or gold, but with the
precious blood of Christ.

I have never understood
exactly how to explain that,
except perhaps that if it had not
happened we would not have been
able to follow Jesus; but it did happen;
that I will proclaim, saying you have done it.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 22; 148; 105; 130
Lam. 3:1-9; 19-33
1 Peter 1:10-20
John 13:36-38

Selected Verses
Ps. 22:31
…and proclaim [the LORD's] deliverance to a people yet unborn,
          saying that he has done it.

Lam. 3:33
…for [the Lord] does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

1 Peter 1:18-19
You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 

John 13:36
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward."

The One Broken Body--April 17, 2014


In distress they cry aloud to you, Jesus;
the hearts of the starving are stricken,
withered like grass; even if they had
bread they are too wasted to eat it.

You took bread, blessed it, broke it,
and gave it to us as your broken body.
The hungry, too, are part of the one body;
as we eat the bread, remind us of the hungry.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 27; 147:12-20; 126; 102
Lam. 2:10-18
1 Cor. 10:14-17; 11:27-32
Mark 14:12-25

Selected Verses
Ps. 102:4
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
          I am too wasted to eat my bread. 

Lam. 2:18
Cry aloud to the Lord!  O wall of daughter Zion!  Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night!  Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite!

1 Cor. 10:17                                                                                                                                              
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

Mark 14:22
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”