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.

You Have Told Us what Is Good--Oct. 24, 2014


We are worried, distracted by many things;
some take pride in our armed forces,
and some in our atomic weapons;
some in technology, others in
our gross national product.

Make us repent, Lord,
for you have told us what
is good and what you require--
to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with you, our God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
Micah 6:1-8
Rev. 9:13-21
Luke 10:38-42

Selected Verses
Ps. 20:7
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
          but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God. 

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
     and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
     and to walk humbly with your God?

Rev. 9:20
The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk.

Luke 10:41
But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things…"

One of Your Faithful Is near Death--Oct. 23, 2014


Merciful God, one of your faithful ones is about
to die.  Hold her, I pray, precious in your sight.

Lord Jesus, she is a member of your flock;
in your strength stand and feed her.

Though her own life was full of woe,
she showed pity to many others.

Dear God, hold her precious
in your sight, I pray.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
Micah 5:1-4, 10-15
Rev. 9:1-12
Luke 10:25-37

Selected Verses
Ps. 116:15
Precious in the sight of the LORD
          is the death of his faithful ones. 

Micah 5:4a
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
            in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. 

Rev. 9:12
The first woe has passed.  There are still two woes to come.

Luke 10:33
But a Samaritan while traveling came near [the man beaten by robbers]; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.

Our Prayers Rise before You--Oct. 22, 2014


We thank you, Creator God,
Lord of heaven and earth;
with Christ we rejoice
in the Holy Spirit,
and our prayers
rise before you.
When our deeds of iniquity
overwhelm us, in your gracious
will forgive our transgressions.
Teach us to walk in your way
forever and ever.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
Micah 3:9-4:5
Rev. 8:1-13
Luke 10:17-24

Selected Verses
Ps. 65:3
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
          you forgive our transgressions. 

Micah 4:5
For all the peoples walk,
            each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
            forever and ever.

Rev. 8:4
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

Luke 10:21
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  …"

Salvation Belongs to You--Oct. 21, 2014


Salvation belongs to you,
to you and to the Lamb, O God,
and your kingdom has come near.
Fill us with your Spirit and power;
fill us with justice and might.
In your faithfulness put an
end to our sinfulness.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
Micah 3:1-8
Rev. 7:9-17
Luke 10:1-16

Selected Verses
Ps. 54:5
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
          In your faithfulness, put an end to them.

Micah 3:8a
But as for me, I am filled with power,
            with the spirit of the Lord,
            and with justice and might… 

Rev. 7:10
[The great multitude] cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 

Luke 10:9
"…cure the sick who are [in the town], and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'"

Speak Peace to your People, O God--Oct. 20, 2014


Pray hold back the winds of destruction,
O God, and speak peace to your people,
that we may turn to you with our hearts.

Rebuke those who command fire to rain
down on the earth and consume it;
may your words do good to all
who would walk uprightly.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
Micah 2:1-13
Rev. 7:1-8
Luke 9:51-62

Selected Verses
Ps. 85:8
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
          for he will speak peace to his people,
          to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. 

Micah 2:7b
Do not my words do good
            to one who walks uprightly?

Rev. 7:1
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree.

Luke 9:54-55
When [Jesus'] disciples James and John saw [that the Samaritans did not receive him], they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"  But he turned and rebuked them.

Apps or Idols?--Oct. 19, 2014

[From Oct. 21, 2012 archive]

O God, you call us to praise you
and warn us against worship of idols.

We do not make graven images, or little gods,
but technology produces a host of idols to worship.

Perhaps we have no need to beat our smartphones to pieces
or lay waste to tablets and laptops, media players and apps;

yet if we adhere to Peter's confession, then Jesus is Lord,
and the gadgets that entertain and divert us from him

must take second place to his claim on our lives.
Let all the peoples praise you, O God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
Micah 1:1-9
1 Cor. 10:1-13
Matt. 16:13-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 67:5
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
          let all the peoples praise you.

Micah 1:7a
All [of Samaria's] images shall be beaten to pieces,
     all her wages shall be burned with fire,
     and all her idols I will lay waste…

1 Cor. 10:7a
Do not become idolaters as some of [our ancestors] did…

Matt. 16:15-16
[Jesus] said to [his disciples], "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

Some Walk Upright, Others Stumble--Oct. 18, 2014


The builders thought they knew
which was the right stone
to use for the corner.
They did not.

The disciples
felt they knew who
were your true followers,
but like the builders were wrong.

O dear God, your ways are right;
the upright walk in them,
but transgressors
stumble.

Make us wise,
make us discerning,
to know and to understand,
lest we end up with the stumblers.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
Hosea 14:1-9
Acts 28:17-31
Luke 9:37-50

Selected Verses
Ps. 118:22
The stone that the builders rejected
          has become the chief cornerstone. 

Hosea 14:9
Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them.  For the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.

Acts 28:24
Some [of the leaders of the Jews in Rome] were convinced by what [Paul] had said, while others refused to believe. 

Luke 9:49-50
John answered, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us."  But Jesus said to him, "Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you."