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.

My Enemies Trample on Me--Sept. 23, 2017


O God Most High, my enemies trample me all day long--
my anger, hubris, selfishness, distrust--they all fight
 against me.  With Elisha I ask, where are you?
Many  purposes of my heart are hidden
in darkness--bring them to light,
expose them, that I may
fulfill the purposes
you have for
 me.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
2 Kings 2:1-18
1 Cor. 4:1-7
Matt. 5:17-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 56:2
…my enemies trample on me all day long,
          for many fight against me.
 O Most High…

2 Kings 2:14a
[Elisha] took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, "Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?"

1 Cor. 4:5
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.  Then each one will receive commendation from God.

Matt. 5:17
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  …" [Jesus, to the crowds on the mountain]

Precious in Your Sight, O God--Sept. 22, 2017

[From Sept. 20, 2013 archive]

We are glad in you--we rejoice and shout for joy.
We are your temple, and your Spirit dwells in us,
Lord God; our life is precious in your sight.
May our life shine before others, that
they may see your good works
and give you the glory.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
2 Kings 1:2-17
1 Cor. 3:16-23
Matt. 5:11-16

Selected Verses
Ps. 32:11
 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous,  
          and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

2 Kings 1:14
"…Look, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight."  [The third captain of fifty to Elijah]

1 Cor. 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Matt. 5:16
"…In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."  [Jesus to the crowd on the mountain]

Your Face, Lord, Do I Seek--Sept. 21, 2017


Come, says my heart, seek God's face.
Yet there is jealousy and quarreling in me--
I am behaving according to human inclinations.
Help me turn aside from such behavior, dear Lord;
make me hunger and thirst for your righteousness,
that I may do what is right in your sight,
for your face do I seek.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
1 Kings 22:29-45
1 Cor. 2:14-3:15
Matt. 5:1-10

Selected Verses
Ps. 27:8
 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!" 
          Your face, LORD, do I seek. 

1 Kings 22:43
[Jehoshaphat] walked in all the way of his father Asa; he did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD; yet the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and offered incense on the high places. 

1 Cor. 3:3
…for you are still of the flesh.  For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?

Matt. 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  …"  [Jesus to the crowds on the mountain]

Pleasing to Others, or to You?--Sept. 20, 2017

[From Sept. 14, 2005 archive]

How long shall your honor suffer shame?
How long will we love vain words and seek after lies;
when will we heed your call and seek to follow you?

How long will we say only what is pleasing to others;
when will our words be what is pleasing to you?

And how shall we comprehend what is truly yours,
except you reveal it to us?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:1-11; 48; 4
1 Kings 22:1-28
1 Cor. 2:1-13
Matt. 4:18-25

Selected Verses
Ps. 4:2
How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
            How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?        Selah

1 Kings 22:13
The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, "Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably."

1 Cor. 2:11
For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within?  So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God.

Matt. 4:21-22
As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.  Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Have You Found Me, My Enemy?--Sept. 19, 2017

[From Sept. 15, 2015 archive]

"Have you found me, O my enemy?" said Ahab to Elijah.
"I have found you," answered Elijah, speaking for you, O God.
You have a way of finding us, whether or not we want
to be found--even your foolishness is wiser than our wisdom,
just as your weakness is stronger than our strength.

When in darkness and foolishness we want to hide
from you, let your light dawn upon us, and teach us your way,
that we may walk in your truth, with an undivided
heart to revere your name.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
1 Kings 21:17-29
1 Cor. 1:20-31
Matt. 4:12-17

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. 

1 Kings 21:20a-b
Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?"  He answered, "I have found you.  …"

1 Cor. 1:25
For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Matt. 4:16
"…the people who sat in darkness
          have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
          light has dawned."

God's Foolishness--Sept. 18, 2017

[From Sept. 12, 2011 archive]

It is foolishness to distribute our money to the poor;
they will waste it.

It is foolish for the powerful to yield to the defenseless;
power is to be used to one's advantage.

It is ridiculous to value your word above our daily bread;
at that rate we will all starve.

The message about the cross is all foolishness,
but it is your power at work.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
1 Kings 21:1-16
1 Cor. 1:1-19
Matt. 4:1-11

Selected Verses
Psalm 112:9a
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor ...

1 Kings 21:15
As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, "Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead."

1 Cor. 1:18
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matt. 4:4
But [Jesus] answered [the tempter],
"It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone,
            but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Our Plans, or Your Plans--Sept. 17, 2017

[From Sept. 15, 2013 archive]

O Holy One, if only we would listen
to you and walk in your ways!

Had we been in Elijah's shoes,
we would have wanted to cling to
our position, not anoint our successor.

We make our schemes and plot our scenarios,
but they are of human origin, and they fail.

Grant us the humility to listen
and to seek your plans.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
1 Kings 19:8-21
Acts 5:34-42
John 11:45-57

Selected Verses
Ps. 81:13
O that my people would listen to me,
          that Israel would walk in my ways!

1 Kings 19:16
"…Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.  …"  [The LORD to Elijah]

Acts 5:38
"…So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail…"  [Gamaliel to the council]

John 11:48
"…If we let [Jesus] go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.  …"  [Caiaphas to the council]