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.

Even in a Time of Great Confusion--July 4, 2015


We are glad, O Jesus, when our feet are standing
within the house where we worship you.
We come to ask you to remember us
when you come into your kingdom.
And we come to ask you to make us
your instruments, and to grant us courage
to be willing to suffer for the sake of your name,
even in a time
of great confusion.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
1 Sam. 14:16-30
Acts 9:10-19a
Luke 23:32-43

Selected Verses
Ps. 122:1-2
I was glad when they said to me,
          “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
Our feet are standing
          within your gates, O Jerusalem.

1 Sam. 14:20
Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle; and every sword was against the other, so that there was very great confusion.

Acts 9:15-16
But the Lord said to [Ananias], “Go, for [Saul] is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 

Luke 23:42
Then [the criminal crucified beside Jesus] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 

For All who Are Persecuted--July 3, 2015


Lord Jesus, why do we persecute you still?
Many people followed you on your way to the cross,
women beat their breasts and wailed for you.

In many countries there is terrible warfare,
and there is panic in the cities and in the countryside;
even the warriors tremble at the persecution.

Be gracious to them, Jesus; you know what
it is like to be persecuted; you suffer with the victims.
Heal them, whose bones shake with terror.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
1 Sam. 13:19-14:15
Acts 9:1-9
Luke 23:26-31

Selected Verses
Ps. 6:2
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
          O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror. 

1 Sam.14:15
There was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison and even the raiders trembled; the earth quaked; and it became a very great panic.

Acts 9:4
[Saul] fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Luke 23:27
A great number of the people followed [Jesus, on his way to be crucified], and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 

My Voice, or the Mob's, or Yours?--July 2, 2015


Pilate listened to the voice of a mob
and released the murderer, Barabbas,
and handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Saul listened to his own voice, not yours,
and lost his patience, and lost your favor.

Philip listened to the voice of an angel;
he chose a wilderness road, one that
led to a conversion experience.

You are my God--teach me to
do your will; let your Spirit
lead me on a level path.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
1 Sam. 13:5-18
Acts 8:26-40
Luke 23:13-25

Selected Verses
Ps. 143:10
Teach me to do your will,
          for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
          on a level path.

1 Sam. 13:13
Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you.  …"

Acts 8:26
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  (This is a wilderness road.) 

Luke 23:25
[Pilate] released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

In a Way, Your Accusers Were Right, Jesus--July 1, 2015


Lord Jesus, in a perverse way, your accusers were right--
all over the land, you did stir up the people, but it
was for good, not for ill.  And your apostles
continued the stirring in Samaria,
and who could count all
the saving deeds
performed in
your name over
the generations that
followed?  By awesome
deeds you have answered us
with deliverance.  You are the hope
of the ends of the earth, of the farthest seas.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
1 Sam. 12:1-25
Acts 8:14-25
Luke 23:1-12

Selected Verses
Ps. 65:5
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
          O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
          and of the farthest seas. 

1 Sam. 12:7
"…Now therefore take your stand, so that I may enter into judgment with you before the LORD, and I will declare to you all the saving deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your ancestors.  …"  [Samuel to the people]

Acts 8:17
Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 

Luke 23:5
But [the chief priests and the crowds were insistent and said, “[Jesus] stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.”

Who Struck You, Jesus?--June 30, 2015


Lord Jesus, who was it that struck you,
blindfolded and beat you, mocked you?

What is the matter
with the people,
that they are weeping?
Why the loud lamentation?"
The insolent have risen against you,
and the ruthless seek your life, O Christ.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
1 Sam. 11:1-15
Acts 8:1b-13
Luke 22:63-71

Selected Verses
Ps. 54:3
For the insolent have risen against me,
          the ruthless seek my life;
          they do not set God before them.     Selah

1 Sam. 11:5
Now Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen; and Saul said, “What is the matter with the people, that they are weeping?”

Acts 8:2
Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. 

Luke 22:63-64
Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy!  Who is it that struck you?” 

Witnesses, Coats Laid at Our Feet--June 29, 2015


Merciful God, sometimes it seems your world lies under
the power of darkness, full of grievous oppression.
Millions are forced to lie down among lions
greedy to devour with weapons of war.
Sometimes we are witnesses, coats
laid at our feet, approving.
Christ have mercy!

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
1 Sam. 10:17-27
Acts 7:44-8:1a
Luke 22:52-62

Selected Verses
Ps. 57:4
 I lie down among lions
          that greedily devour human prey;
their teeth are spears and arrows,
          their tongues sharp swords.

1 Sam. 10:27c-d
Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. 

Acts 7:58
Then they dragged [Stephen] out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Luke 22:52-53
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit?  When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me.  But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!” 

When We Doubt Your Authority, O God--June 28, 2015


Saul's uncle questioned him, but Saul did not tell him
what authority he had received from Samuel;

the chief priests and elders questioned Jesus about
what authority he had received, but he did not tell them.

Abraham did not waver concerning your promise, O God;
he was sure you were able to do what you promised.

You were his refuge and strength, a help in trouble;
when we doubt you can help, give us faith like Abraham's.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
1 Sam. 10:1-16
Rom. 4:13-25
Matt. 21:23-32

Selected Verses
Ps. 46:1
God is our refuge and strength,
          a very present help in trouble. 

1 Sam. 10:16
Saul said to his uncle, “He told us that the donkeys had been found.”  But about the matter of the kingship, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.

Rom. 4:20-21
No distrust made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

Matt. 21:27
So [the chief priests and elders] answered Jesus, “We do not know.”  And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.  …"