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.
Guard Our Hearts and Minds--Feb. 12, 2016

Lord Jesus, you do not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted--
hear us when we cry to you.

Cast away from us all the transgressions
we have committed against you;
give us a new heart, new spirit.

Your peace surpasses all understanding;
as you send us into the world,
even as God sent you there,
guard our hearts and minds.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 22; 148; 105; 130
Ezek. 18:1-4, 25-32
Phil. 4:1-9
John 17:9-19

Selected Verses
Ps. 22:24
For he did not despise or abhor
          the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
          but heard when I cried to him.

Ezek. 18:31a
Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! 

Phil. 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 17:18
"…As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  …"  [Jesus' prayer for his disciples]

Exulting in the God of our Salvation--Feb. 11, 2016


We rejoice in you, God of our salvation;
you have done great things for us.
You have sent us Christ Jesus,
and we press on toward
the goal, the prize of
your heavenly call
in Christ.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 27; 147:12-20; 126; 102
Hab. 3:10-18
Phil. 3:12-21
John 17:1-8

Selected Verses
Ps. 126:3
The LORD has done great things for us,
          and we rejoiced.

Hab. 3:18
…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
            I will exult in the God of my salvation.

Phil. 3:14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. 

John 17:8
"…for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  …"  [Jesus' prayer for his disciples]

Ash Wednesday Prayer--Feb. 10, 2016

[From Feb. 17, 2010 archive]

I went up to pray tonight.
I was a sinner, like the Pharisee;
I was a sinner, like the tax collector.

I struggle against sin, my own sin and the sin of others,
but I grow weary of the struggle, and I lose heart.

God, make me strong and give my heart courage—
courage to wait for you, believing I will yet see your goodness.

Help me seek good and not evil; and be with me, Jesus—
you who endured great hostility while shedding your blood.

For I repent of my sin.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5, 147:1-11, 27, 51
Amos 5:6-15
Heb. 12:1-14
Luke 18:9-14

Selected Verses
Ps. 27:13-14
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD
            in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
            wait for the LORD!

Amos 5:14
Seek good and not evil,
            that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
            just as you have said.

Heb. 12:3-4
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Luke 18:9-10
[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.     

When I Am Weary--Feb. 9, 2016

[From Feb. 16, 2010 archive]

My soul is cast down within me; I am weary, O God.
Nothing I tried today worked out.  I could not prevail.

But suddenly I realize I have been acting as if you are a
stranger to me, as if I do not know what you have done.

Have I forgotten, in my desert place, the mountains
and cool waters where I have found you in the past?

Teach me to remember my experience of you there;
and teach me to rejoice in you, even in the desert.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 42, 146, 102, 133
Prov. 30:1-4, 24-33
Phil. 3:1-11
John 18:28-38

Selected Verses
Ps. 42:6b-c
My soul is cast down within me;
            therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
            from Mount Mizar.

Prov. 30:1b-c
Thus says the man: I am weary, O God,
            I am weary, O God.  How can I prevail?

Phil. 3:1a
Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.

John 18:35
Pilate replied [to Jesus], “I am not a Jew, am I?  Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me.  What have you done?”

Peter Was Afraid--Feb. 8, 2016

[From Feb. 15, 2010 archive]

Peter was afraid, his life in great peril,
and fear drove Peter to deny his Lord.
I would have been terrified in his place.

Besides, Peter wanted others to think
well of him.  If they did not praise him,
then Peter was ready to praise himself.
I do the same.  No, I cannot blame Peter.

Bless us with your peace; and give us
your strength; so that we have no need
to conceal who we are, or to put on airs.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5, 145, 82, 29
Prov. 27:1-6, 10-12
Phil. 2:1-13
John 18:15-18, 25-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 29:11
May the LORD give strength to this people!
            May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Prov. 27:2
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth—
            a stranger, and not your own lips.

Phil. 2:3
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.

John 18:27
Again Peter denied [that he had been a disciple of Jesus], and at that moment the cock crowed.

Like Calves Released from Winter Stalls--Feb. 7, 2016

[From Feb. 19, 2012 archive]

Rise for us, O Sun of Righteousness,
rise with healing in your wings,
for we need to be healed.

Come, O Heavenly Mother/Father, come;
like a compassionate parent come;
we need your compassion.

Come Lord Jesus, full of glory; unveil
our faces to behold your glory--
transform us in your image.

Then send us leaping out into the world,
calves released from winter stalls,
to tell crowds who you are.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 103; 150; 117; 139
Mal. 4:1-6
2 Cor. 3:7-18
Luke 9:18-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 103:13
As a father has compassion for his children,
          so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.

Mal. 4:2
But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.  You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

2 Cor. 3:18
And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

Luke 9:18
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"

When my Flesh Faints for You--Feb. 6, 2016


I search for you, O God.  Tell me,
shall I turn to the right hand or to the left?
Do you hide where I cannot come?
Tell me, for I am in a dry and weary land.

You answer that I should make
straight paths for my feet, so that what
is lame may not be out of joint,
but rather be healed.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 63; 149; 125; 90
Gen. 24:28-38; 49-51
Heb. 12:12-29
John 7:14-36

Selected Verses
Ps. 63:1
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
          my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
          as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 

Gen. 24:49
"Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left."  [Abraham's servant to Laban]

Heb. 12:13
…and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

John 7:36
"…What does [Jesus] mean by saying, 'You will search for me and you will not find me' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"  [The Pharisees to one another]