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.

Bread that Gives Life to the Suffering--Aug. 22, 2014


There are many in the world today
whose suffering is very great, and much
suffering comes, O God, from the iniquities
of those who breathe threats and murder;
yet we confess our own complicity.

Whatever the source, teach us to have
compassion for those who suffer.
Feed us with your bread of life,
and redeem us from iniquity.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Job 2:1-13
Acts 9:1-9
John 6:27-40

Selected Verses
Ps. 130:8
It is [the LORD] who will redeem Israel
          from all its iniquities.

Job 2:13
[Job's three friends] sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

Acts 9:1
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest…

John 6:33
"…For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."  [Jesus to the crowd following him]

The One at Your Right Hand--Aug. 21, 2014

[From Aug. 23, 2012 archive]

God, sometimes there's no one else to do the teaching;
the job falls to me alone.

Sometimes I'm the only one who can break bad news;
the burden's on my shoulders.

O God, there are dark nights I feel as if it's been a day
when Christ has not yet come.

Remind me, your hand is on the one at your right hand,
and he will strengthen me.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
Job 1:1-22
Acts 8:26-40
John 6:16-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 80:17
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
          the one whom you made strong for yourself.

Job 1:19
"… and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you."  [The messenger who came to tell Job all his children were killed]

Acts 8:30-31
So Philip ran up to [the Ethiopian eunuch's chariot] and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.

John 6:16-17
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum.  It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.

Strong, Rich, or Hungry?—Aug. 20, 2014

[From Aug. 22, 2012 archive] 

Who may abide in your tent, 
dwell on your holy hill? 
The strong and mighty? 
Those who buy their way in? 
Or the helpless hungry?  The hungry--
at least it was they you fed upon the mountain. 

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48; 4 
Judg. 18:16-31 
Acts 8:14-25 
John 6:1-15 

Selected Verses 
Ps. 15:1 
 O LORD, who may abide in your tent?
          Who may dwell on your holy hill? 

Judg. 18:26b 
When Micah saw that [the Danites] were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home. 

Acts 8:18 
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money…

John 6:11 

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 

If You Hide Your Face--Aug. 19, 2014

[From Aug. 21, 2012 

We don't need you, God. 
We are able to spy out the land 
for ourselves and find what we need. 
In our prosperity we are comfortable, safe; 
yes, we are established like a strong mountain. 

Then you hide your face, and we are dismayed. 
We have been seeking glory from others, 
not the glory that comes from you. 
What would we do if severe 
persecution came? 

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86 
Judg. 18:1-15 
Acts 8:1-13 
John 5:30-47 

Selected Verses 
Ps. 30:6-7 
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
          “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD,
          you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
          I was dismayed. 

Judg. 18:2a 
So the Danites sent five valiant men from the whole number of their clan, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it; and they said to them, "Go, explore the land.” 

Acts 8:1b 
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. 

John 5:44 

"…How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?  …"  [Jesus to those who wanted to kill him]

In the Pattern of Christ—Aug. 18, 2014

[From Aug. 20, 2012] 

O God, you are just in all your ways, 
and kind in all your doings. 

You gave Moses a pattern to build 
the tent of testimony, 

and Jesus patterned his whole life 
after what he saw you do. 

Hold the life of Christ before our eyes, 
so we see to do what is right. 

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112 
Judg. 17:1-13 
Acts 7:44-8:1a 
John 5:19-29 

Selected Verses 
Ps. 145:17  
The Lord is just in all his ways,
          and kind in all his doings. 

Judg. 17:6  
In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes. 

Acts 7:44 
"Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.  …"  [Stephen to the high priest and council] 

John 5:19 
Jesus said to [those seeking to kill him], "Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.  …” 

Jesus, the Secret of Your Power—Aug. 17, 2014

[From Aug. 19, 2012] 

Samson told Delilah the whole secret of his power. 
No words can tell the secret of your power, 
but you were crucified in weakness, 
and you live by the power of God, 
and your power goes forth from you, 
and your voice goes out through all the earth. 

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113 
Judg. 16:15-31 
2 Cor. 13:1-11 
Mark 5:25-34 

Selected Verses 
Ps. 19:3-4a 
There is no speech, nor are there words;
          their voice is not heard; 
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
          and their words to the end of the world. 

Judg. 16:17a 
So [Samson] told [Delilah] his whole secret…

2 Cor. 13:4a 
For [Christ] was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. 

Mark 5:30 

Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?"

That the Haughty May Hear—Aug. 16, 2014

[From Aug. 18, 2012 archive] 

Though you are high, you regard the lowly; 
you heard the groaning of your people in Egypt 
and sent Moses to break the chains that bound them. 

Do you hear the millions of poor who are groaning today? 
For the gain of silver, they are bound into poverty; 
what makes the strength of silver so great? 

We believe you are still working today; 
cure us, we who are bound by indifference,  
so the haughty may hear the groans of the poor. 

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 104; 149; 138; 98 
Judg. 16:1-14 
Acts 7:30-43 
John 5:1-18 

Selected Verses 
Ps. 138:6 
 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly;
          but the haughty he perceives from far away. 

Judg. 16:4 
The lords of the Philistines came to [Delilah] and said to her, "Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we may overpower him, so that we may bind him in order to subdue him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 

Acts 7:34 
"…'…I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them.  Come now, I will send you to Egypt.'  …"  [Stephen, quoting words that God spoke to Moses] 

John 5:17 

But Jesus answered [his persecutors], "My Father is still working, and I also am working."