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.

Who May Dwell on Your Holy Hill?--July 23, 2014


Who may abide in your tent, O God;
who may dwell on your holy hill?
And who but you may decide?
After we read all the verses,
all of the blessings and curses,
written in Moses' book of the law,
are we more ready to pass judgment
than were the council members
who condemned Jesus?
God, may we never put
a stumbling block, never set
a hindrance, in the way of another.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 15; 147:7-11; 48; 4
Josh. 8:30-35
Rom. 14:13-23
Matt. 26:57-68

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

Josh. 8:34
And afterwards [Joshua] read all the words of the law, blessings and curses, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 

Rom. 14:13
Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. 

Matt. 26:66
"…What is your verdict?"  They answered, "He [Jesus] deserves death."  [Caiaphas to the chief priests and the whole council]

Whether We Live or Whether We Die--July 22, 2014


You had more than your share
of scorn and contempt, Lord Jesus.

In the end even your disciples deserted--
there was no way for you to survive or escape.

Teach us how to live to you, how to die to you,
in the sure knowledge that whether we live
or whether we die, we are yours.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 123; 146; 30; 86
Josh. 8:1-22
Rom. 14:1-12
Matt. 26:47-56

Selected Verses
Ps. 123:4
 Our soul has had more than its fill
          of the scorn of those who are at ease,
          of the contempt of the proud.

Josh. 8:22
And the others came out from the city against them; so they were surrounded by Israelites, some on one side, and some on the other; and Israel struck them down until no one was left who survived or escaped.

Rom. 14:8
If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 

Matt. 26:56b
Then all the disciples deserted [Jesus] and fled.

When the Time of Trial is Near--July 21, 2014


You are near to all who call on you,
near to all who call on you in truth.

Though I think my spirit's willing,
God, you know my flesh is weak.

As I come into the time of trial,
I fall upon my face before you.

It is time to wake from sleep,
to stay awake and pray.

Give me strength
to stand.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 135; 145; 97; 112
Josh. 7:1-13
Rom. 13:8-14
Matt. 26:36-46

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
          to all who call on him in truth. 

Josh. 7:10-11a
The LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up!  Why have you fallen upon your face?  Israel has sinned…"

Rom. 13:11
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. 

Matt. 26:41
"…Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  [Jesus to Peter]

To God Who Speaks without Words--July 20, 2014


Our ears do not hear you speak, or your voice,
yet what you say goes out through all the earth.

Our eyes do not see your action, or your motion,
yet the fame of what you do is in all the land.

Those who see, and those who hear are amazed,
and encouraged to speak, and to glorify you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 19; 150; 81; 113
Josh. 6:15-27
Acts 22:30-23:11
Mark 2:1-12

Selected Verses
Ps. 19:3-4
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.

Josh. 6:27
So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was in all the land.

Acts 23:11
That night the Lord stood near [Paul] and said, "Keep up your courage!  For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome."

Mark 2:12

And [the paralytic] stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"


Does God Give Me Authority to Kill?--July 19, 2014


I have no desire to execute vengeance
on the nations and punishment on the peoples;
nor for God to hand over a city, king, and soldiers.

Had St. Paul been alive when Nero tortured
and burned Christians, would he have
said God gave Nero the authority?

Lord Jesus, was your blood
poured out to forgive
my sins only?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 104; 149; 138; 98
Josh. 6:1-14
Rom. 13:1-7
Matt. 26:26-35

Selected Verses
Ps. 149:6-7
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
          and two-edged swords in their hands, 
to execute vengeance on the nations
          and punishment on the peoples…

Josh. 6:2
The LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have handed Jericho over to you, along with its king and soldiers.  …" 

Rom. 13:2
Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Matt. 26:28
"…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

How Holy the Place We Live--July 18, 2014


When a certain man was told
that the Teacher's time was near,
and so the Teacher would be keeping

Passover at his house, did he remove
his sandals; did he understand how
holy was the place he lived?

Forgive us, Jesus, if we forget
you want us to live on holy ground;
Restore to us the joy of your salvation,

and when we lag in zeal, sustain in us
an ardent, willing spirit--rejoicing
in hope, persevering in prayer,
always serving you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
Josh. 4:19-5:1, 10-15
Rom. 12:9-21
Matt. 26:17-25

Selected Verses
Ps. 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
          and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Josh. 4:15
The commander of the army of the LORD said to Joshua, "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.

Rom. 12:11-12
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 

Matt. 26:18
[Jesus] said [to his disciples], "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'" 

How Your Body Was Prepared for Burial--July 17, 2014


Lord Jesus, we have a goodly heritage;
boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.

While many were crossing over the Jordan
on dry ground, you held back the waters.

So do not allow us to think of ourselves
more highly than we ought to think.

Remind us rather how your body
was prepared for burial.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 147:12-20; 16; 62
Josh. 3:14-4:7
Rom. 12:1-8
Matt. 26:1-16

Selected Verses
Ps. 16:6
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
          I have a goodly heritage.

Josh. 3:17
While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

Rom. 12:3
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Matt. 26:11-12
"…By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her."  [Jesus to his disciples]