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.

When in Distress We Call--July 23, 2017

O God, sometimes in our distress we call,
and sometimes it seems you answer,
and you lead us out of danger--
but apparently not always.

Often we are too afraid
to listen for your word--
afraid you will only test us,
and that the test will overcome us.

Transform us by the renewing
 of our minds, dear God,
that we may discern
your will for us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
1 Sam. 23:7-18
Rom. 11:33-12:2
Matt. 25:14-30

Selected Verses
Ps. 81:7
 In distress you called, and I rescued you;
          I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
          I tested you at the waters of Meribah.  Selah 

1 Sam. 23:11
"…And now, will Saul come down as your servant has heard?  O LORD, the God of Israel, I beseech you, tell your servant."  The LORD said, "He will come down." 

Rom. 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Matt. 25:25
"'…so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.  Here you have what is yours.'  …" [the slave who received one talent, to his master, in Jesus' parable]

With You, We Will Be Safe--July 22, 2017

Lord Jesus, we will stay with you,
and follow you, and do your will,
and not be afraid, for with you--
continuing in the grace of God--
 we will be safe.  Praise the Lord!

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 104; 149; 138; 98
1 Sam. 22:1-23
Acts 13:26-43
Mark 3:19b-35

Selected Verses
Ps. 149
Praise the Lord!
     Sing to the Lord a new song,
          his praise in the assembly of the faithful. 

1 Sam. 22:22-23
David said to Abiathar, "I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul.  I am responsible for the lives of all your father’s house.  Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me."
Acts 13:43
When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

Mark 3:35
"…Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."  [Jesus to the crowd]

Parting of the Ways--July 21, 2017

At times we must separate ourselves from others.
The crush of the crowd made Jesus use a boat;
 David escaped from Saul to save his life;
John left Paul and returned home.
But do not cast us away from
your presence, O God,
and do not take
your Spirit
from us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
1 Sam. 21:1-15
Acts 13:13-25
Mark 3:7-19a

Selected Verses
Ps. 51:11
Do not cast me away from your presence,
          and do not take your holy spirit from me. 

1 Sam. 21:10
David rose and fled that day from Saul; he went to King Achish of Gath. 

Acts 13:13
Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia.  John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem…

Mark 3:9
[Jesus] told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him…

When in Fierce Anger We Rise Up--July 19, 2017

When in fierce anger we rise up
against those who have disgraced us,
or who have threatened the ones we love,
protect us, O God, for in you we take refuge.

When we see some make crooked
the straight paths you have taught us,
and are grieved at their hardness of heart,
protect us, O God, for in you we take refuge.

When our anger knows no boundaries,
when our wrath is misguided,
when we are the enemy,
protect us, O God,
from ourselves.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 147:12-20; 16; 62
1 Sam. 20:24-42
Acts 13:1-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

Selected Verses
Ps. 16:1
 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 

1 Sam. 20:34
Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, and because his father had disgraced him.

Acts 13:9-10
But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at [Elymas] and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?  …"

Mark 3:5
[Jesus] looked around at [those watching to see whether he would cure on the sabbath] with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 

Your Plans, Not Our Plans--July 19, 2017

Remind us, Lord Jesus, that very often
our plans are not your plans.
Sometimes you gather us to hear your word;
at other times  you send us away,
and then again you ask us to return home.
But whatever your plans for us,
they are always in keeping with your call:
"Follow me."

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 89:1-18; 147:1-11; 1; 33
1 Sam. 20:1-23
Acts 12:18-25
Mark 2:13-22

Selected Verses
Ps. 33:10
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
          he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 

1 Sam. 20:22
But if I say to the young man, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then go; for the LORD has sent you away. 

Acts 12:25
Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Mark 2:13-14
Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them.   As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me."  And he got up and followed him.

When Kindred Live Together in Unity--July 18, 2017

How very good and pleasant it is, Lord,
when kindred live together in unity.
Teach us to live together in unity
with spiritual brothers and sisters.

Show us how to bring back together
all with whom we have quarreled,
and, as we gather together in prayer,
come and speak your word to us,
and rescue us from the hands of evil.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 42; 146; 102; 133
1 Sam. 19:1-24
Acts 12:1-17
Mark 2:1-12

Selected Verses
Ps. 133:1
How very good and pleasant it is
          when kindred live together in unity! 

1 Sam. 19:7
So Jonathan called David and related all these things to him.  Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

Acts 12:11-12
Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."  As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. 

Mark 2:2
So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and [Jesus] was speaking the word to them. 

How Can We Boast?--July 17, 2017

We rejoice in you, and in your grace, O God.
Save us from boasting when we excel;
save us from jealousy when others do better;
Jesus was humble--should we be vain?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5; 145; 82; 29
1 Sam. 18:5-30
Acts 11:19-30
Mark 1:29-45

Selected Verses
Ps. 5:5a
The boastful will not stand before your eyes…

1 Sam. 18:8-9
Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him.  He said, "They have ascribed to David tens of thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?"  So Saul eyed David from that day on.

Acts 11:19-23a
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews.  But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus.  The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord.  News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced…

Mark 1:43-44
After sternly warning [the man cured of leprosy] [Jesus] sent him away at once,  saying to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."