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.

Let Me Be Content, God--Feb. 23, 2019

[From Feb. 19, 2011 archive; adapted from my Feb. 17, 2001 journal]

God, let me be content—
content and humble,
content and contrite in spirit,
trembling before your word.

God, let me be content—
content with what I have,
content to give ungrudgingly,
not calculating the cost.

God, let me be content—
so content that I am glad
in this day you have made,
in each new day you give me.

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
Isa. 66:1-6
1 Tim. 6:1-21
Mark 12:35-44

Selected Verses 
Ps. 118:24
This is the day that the LORD has made;
            let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Isa. 66:2
 All these things my hand has made,
            and so all these things are mine,
                                    says the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look,
            to the humble and contrite in spirit,
            who trembles at my word.

1 Tim. 6:6-8
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

Mark 12:43-44
Then [Jesus] called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.  For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Not Far from the Kingdom? How Far?--Feb. 22, 2019

[From Feb. 18, 2011 archive; adapted from Feb. 16, 2001 journal]

Not far from the kingdom of God?  Sounds intimidating.
Just how far, and what is lacking still?

Do I want to close the gap; do I dare?
If I get there, will I want to stay?

If you are about to create new heavens, new earth,
what will that be like, God?

I don’t know, but I want to be faithful to you,
and I offer you my prayer.

Do not let the rush of mighty waters
overcome me or my family.

And speaking of my family, show me
how to provide for them wisely.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Isa. 65:17-25
1 Tim. 5:1-25
Mark 12:28-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 32:6
Therefore let all who are faithful
            offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
            shall not reach them.

Isa. 65:17
For I am about to create new heavens
            and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
            or come to mind.

1 Tim. 5:8
And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Mark 12:28-34
When Jesus saw that [the scribe] answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Neglecting the Gift That Is in Us--Feb. 21, 2019

[From Feb. 17, 2011 archives; adapted from Feb. 15, 2001 journal]

We do not know the scriptures—
much less know your power.

Although you are ready to be sought out,
we seek not, nor call on your name.

Then we dare to put the blame on you,
complain you hide your face.

And thus we neglect the gift that is in us—
a crucial gift—your availability to us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Isa. 65:17-25
1 Tim. 5:1-25
Mark 12:28-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 27:8-9
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
            Your face, LORD, do I seek.       
            Do not hide your face from me.

Isa. 65:1
I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
            to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
            to a nation that did not call on my name.

1 Tim. 4:14
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.

Mark 12:24
Jesus said to [the Sadducees], “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?  …”


God, By the Work of Your Hand--Feb. 20, 2019

[From Feb. 15, 2011 archive]

By the work of your hand
you molded us from clay,
put gladness into our heart.

You chose a cornerstone,
and it was amazing in our eyes
(though the builders rejected it).

On the cornerstone you
established your church,
pillar and bulwark of truth.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48; 4
Isa. 63:15-64:9
1 Tim. 3:1-16
Mark 11:27-12:12

Selected Verses
Ps. 4:7
You have put gladness in my heart
            more than when their grain and wine abound.

Isa. 64:8
Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
            we are the clay, and you are our potter;
            we are all the work of your hand.

1 Tim. 3:15
…if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

Mark 12:10
“…Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
            has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
            and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
[Jesus in the temple, to the chief priests, scribes, and elders]

God, Give Me an Undivided Heart--Feb. 19, 2019

[From Feb. 15, 2011 archive]

God, give me an undivided heart to revere you.
With an undivided heart, I will walk in your truth;

I will remember how you have saved and redeemed,
lifted up and carried; how you have given us Jesus.

With an undivided heart I can fight the good fight,
and I can forgive all who have trespassed against me.

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Isa. 63:7-14
1 Tim. 1:18-2:15
Mark 11:12-26

Selected Verses 
Ps. 86:11
Teach me your way, O LORD, 
            that I may walk in your truth;
            give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

Isa. 63:9b-d
 It was no messenger or angel
            but his presence that saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
            he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

1 Tim. 1:18-19a.
I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience.

Mark 11:25
“…Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  [Jesus to his disciples]

Over All God Has Made--Feb. 18, 2019

[From Feb. 14, 2011 archive]

O God, you are good to all, and your
compassion is over all you have made.

I choose not to believe that you have trampled
down peoples in anger, crushed them in wrath,
and poured out their lifeblood on the earth.

You teach love that comes from a pure heart,
a good conscience, and sincere faith.

Such a love sent two disciples for a colt Jesus
would ride to enter the city of his execution—
his own lifeblood to be poured out over the earth.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Isa. 63:1-6
1 Tim. 1:1-17
Mark 11:1-11

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:9
The Lord is good to all,
            and his compassion is over all he has made.

Isa. 63:6
“…I trampled down peoples in my anger,
            I crushed them in my wrath,
            and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

1 Tim. 1:5
But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.

Mark 11:1-3
When [Jesus and his disciples] were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it.  If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’ ”

God Known and Unknown--Feb. 17, 2019

[From Feb. 13, 2011 archive]

O God,
You have not forsaken your people,
on the contrary, you have redeemed us—
relieved our shoulder of the burden,
freed our hands from the basket.

Yet sometimes you speak to us as a voice unknown;
is it because we have not obeyed your commandments?
Jesus knew where he came from and where he was going;
sometimes we act as if such information has escaped us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
Isa. 62:6-12
1 John 2:3-11
John 8:12-19

Selected Verses
Ps. 81:5c-6
I hear a voice I had not known:
"I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
            your hands were freed from the basket. …"

Isa. 62:12
They shall be called, "The Holy People,
            The Redeemed of the LORD";
and you shall be called, "Sought Out,
            A City Not Forsaken."

1 John 2:3
Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments.

John 8:14
Jesus answered [the Pharisees], "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. …"