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.

Lord Jesus, in our Time of Testing--May 25, 2017

[From May 14, 2015 archive]

Lord Jesus, when we try to worship you,
but we are full of doubt, you come
to us in our time of testing,
as to a barren woman,
and give us a home with you
and make us joyous,
like a joyous mother of children.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 47; 147:12-20; 68; 113
Ezek. 1:1-14, 24-28b
Heb. 2:5-18
Matt. 28:16-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 113:9
[The LORD] gives the barren woman a home,
          making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

Ezek. 1:3
…the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was on him there.

Heb. 2:18
Because [Jesus] himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Matt. 28:17
When [the eleven disciples] saw [the risen Jesus], they worshiped him; but some doubted.

You Know Our Needs--May 24, 2017

[From May 16, 2007 archive]

You cared for the homicide
who required safe haven,
and you will care for us.

You know our needs:
food, shelter, healing.

And spiritual needs:
to confess our sins;
to pray for others;
to give you thanks;
to sing your praise.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 9, 99, 118, 147:1-11
Deut. 19:1-7
James 5:13-18
Luke 12:22-31

Selected Verses
Ps. 147:1
Praise the LORD!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
            for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.

Deut. 19:3
You shall calculate the distances and divide into three regions the land that the LORD your God gives you as a possession, so that any homicide can flee to one of them.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

Luke 12:30
For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

To Welcome Your Implanted Word, O God--May 23, 2017

[From May 12, 2015 archive]

Rid us of all sordidness and wickedness,
that with meekness we may welcome your
implanted word--the power to save our souls.
Sometimes you let people ride over our heads,
God, and we go through fire and through water,
but then you bring us out to a spacious place,
a place where we know that you are with us.
You humble us and test us, even bring us
to the time of trial, but in the end
you do us good, dear Lord.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 98; 146; 66; 116
Deut. 8:11-20
James 1:16-27
Luke 11:1-13

Selected Verses
Ps. 66:12
…you let people ride over our heads;
          we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

Deut. 8:15b-16
[The LORD your God] made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 

James 1:21
Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

Luke 11:4
"…And forgive us our sins,
               for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
[Jesus, teaching his disciples to pray]

How Do We Find Joy, Jesus?--May 22, 2017

[From May 11, 2015 archive]

Lord Jesus, how do we find joy?

By eating our fill and blessing you
for the good land that you have given us.

Or by having an upright heart that
lets light dawn and joy come flooding in.

Or by facing trials that test our faith,
knowing that testing produces endurance.

Or remembering that those who
lose their life for your sake will save it.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 145; 124; 115
Deut. 8:1-10
James 1:1-15
Luke 9:18-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 97:11
Light dawns for the righteous,
          and joy for the upright in heart. 

Deut. 8:10
You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

James 1:2-4
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Luke 9:24
"…For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

To Plant a Mustard Seed--May 21, 2017

[From May 10, 2015 archive]

Lord God,

You have remembered us in our low estate,
for your steadfast love endures forever,
and everything you created is good.
Teach us to receive with thanksgiving,
and--to those in need--give with open hand.

From small beginnings like these
your kingdom grows
and grows.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 93; 150; 136; 117
Deut. 15:1-11
1 Tim. 3:14-4:5
Matt. 13:24-34a

Selected Verses
Ps. 136:23
It is [the LORD] who remembered us in our low estate,
          for his steadfast love endures forever…

Deut. 15:7-8
If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.  You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be.

1 Tim. 4:4-5
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

Matt. 13:31-32
[Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

For Your Name's Sake--May 20, 2017

[From May 12, 2007 archive]

O God, there is no god beside you,
and no one can deliver from your hand.
Send us to heal and proclaim your kingdom.

For your name’s sake, lead us in right paths.
When strong, teach us to abide the weak,
to please you, not to please ourselves.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 92; 149; 23; 114
Deut. 32:34-43
Rom. 15:1-13
Luke 9:1-17    

Selected Verses
Ps. 23:3b
He leads me in right paths
            for his name’s sake.

Deut. 32:39
See now that I, even I, am he;
            there is no god beside me.
I kill and I make alive;
            I wound and I heal;
            and no one can deliver from my hand.

Rom. 15:1
We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Luke 9:2
…and [Jesus] sent [the twelve] out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

In a Howling Wilderness Waste--May 19, 2017

[From May 8, 2015 archive]

Though we walk in the midst of trouble,
stretch out your hand to deliver us,
Jesus; though the crowds surround
and press in on us--touch us, guard us.

In a desert land, in a howling wilderness
waste, shield us, heal us, care for us;
into your kingdom of righteousness
lead us--to peace and joy in your Spirit.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 148; 49; 138
Deut. 31:30-32:14
Rom. 14:13-23
Luke 8:40-56
Selected Verses
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
          you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
     you stretch out your hand,
          and your right hand delivers me. 

Deut. 32:10
[The LORD] sustained him in a desert land,
          in a howling wilderness waste;
he shielded [Jacob], cared for him,
          guarded him as the apple of his eye. 

Rom. 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

Luke 8:45
Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”  When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.”