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.

Day by Day, the Cross--Aug. 5, 2015


For his love of the father, David served food to the son,
day by day.

For his love of the Son, Paul served the Father
and told of his salvation,
day by day.

Day by day may we deny ourselves,
and take up our cross,
and follow you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 96; 147:1-11; 132; 134
2 Sam. 9:1-13
Acts 19:1-10
Mark 8:34-9:1

Selected Verses
Ps. 96:2
 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
          tell of his salvation from day to day. 

2 Sam. 9:7
David said to [Mephibosheth], “Do not be afraid, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan; I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you yourself shall eat at my table always.” 

Acts 19:9
When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, [Paul] left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 

Mark 8:34
[Jesus] called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  …"

The Concerned and the Unconcerned--Aug. 4, 2015

[From Aug. 6, 2013 archive]

David was concerned you might forget to keep your promise,
but he couched his concern in praises.

Peter was concerned over what Jesus said would happen,
but Jesus rebuked him for it.

Gallio paid no attention to who was being beaten;
it was none of his concern.

The poor are despoiled; the needy groan;
is that no concern of ours?

 Lectionary Readings
Ps. 12; 146; 36; 7
2 Sam. 7:18-29
Acts 18:12-28
Mark 8:22-33

Selected Verses
Ps. 12:5
“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
          I will now rise up,” says the LORD;
          “I will place them in the safety for which they long.” 

2 Sam. 7:25
"…And now, O LORD God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever; do as you have promised.  …"  [David to the LORD]

Acts 18:17
Then all of [those who had attacked Paul] seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal.  But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.

Mark 8:33
But turning and looking at his disciples, [Jesus] rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan!  For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

No Argument Needed to Know You--Aug. 3, 2015


It is hard to let you be our God,
and for us to be your servants.
We want to order you around,
to tell you our plans for you;
we want to see a sign, some
tangible proof you are real.
Convince us with evidence.

You are our refuge, O God.
We pour out our hearts before you.  
Those who trust in you at all times
need no further convincing,
no sign to persuade us--
we know you and
your steadfast
love.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 62; 145; 73; 9
2 Sam. 7:1-17
Acts 18:1-11
Mark 8:11-21

Selected Verses
Ps. 62:8
Trust in him at all times, O people;
          pour out your heart before him;
          God is a refuge for us. Selah

2 Sam. 7:4-5
But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 

Acts 18:4
Every sabbath [Paul] would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks.

Mark 8:12
And [Jesus] sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign?  Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

Restore Our Soul, Lord Jesus--Aug. 2, 2015


You have shown us great things, Lord Jesus,
and it may be we will see yet greater.
Why are we not dancing before
you, praising your name?
Restore our soul, Lord;
for your name's sake
lead us in right paths.
We do not live to ourselves,
and we shall not die to ourselves.
Whether we live or whether we die,
make us yours.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 108; 150; 66; 23
2 Sam. 6:12-23
Rom. 14:7-12
John 1:43-51

Selected Verses
Ps. 23:3
            …[the LORD] restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths 
            for his name’s sake. 

2 Sam. 6:14
David danced before the LORD with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod.

Rom. 14:7-8
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.  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.

John 1:50
Jesus answered [Philip], “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?  You will see greater things than these.” 

In Sympathy with David's Anger--Aug. 1, 2015


You have made us, O God,
and we are yours, your people,
the sheep of your pasture.

You have compassion for us,
feeding us when we are hungry.
In you we live and move
and have our being.

Would you then kill
in anger because a man
touched a holy object
to keep if from falling?
I cannot think so.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
2 Sam. 5:22-6:11
Acts 17:16-34
Mark 8:1-10

Selected Verses
Ps. 100:3
Know that the LORD is God.
          It is he that made us, and we are his;
          we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

2 Sam. 6:7-8a
The anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there because he reached out his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God.  David was angry because the LORD had burst forth with an outburst upon Uzzah…

Acts 17:28a
"…For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’  …"  [Paul to philosophers in Athens]

Mark 8:1-2
In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, "I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.  …"
How far Your Wonders Are Known--July 31, 2015
[From July 31, 2009 archive]

Are your wonders known to us when we have
passed into the darkness and forgetfulness of death?
Are the dead excluded from your house, as David
in his sarcasm excluded the blind and lame?

The wonders that Jesus performed did not escape notice,
not even the notice of foreigners, and you denied your love
neither to a poor Gentile woman nor to Greeks of high standing.
May we place no limits on how far your wonders are known.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
2 Sam. 5:1-12
Acts 17:1-15
Mark 7:24-37

Selected Verses
Ps. 88:12
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
            or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

2 Sam. 5:8
David had said on that day, “Whoever wishes to strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.”  Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”

Acts 17:1-15
Many of [the Jews in Beroea] therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing.

Mark 7:24b-26a
[Jesus] entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there.  Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.  Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin.

When Bad News Comes--July 30, 2015


Bad news comes, and our hearts are appalled;
our courage fails; our spirits faint within us;
we are dismayed.

Many bad things come from within our hearts--
the list is long, ugly--but surely one of them
is unwarranted dismay.

Each morning remind me of your steadfast love,
and teach me the way I should go, for in you
I put my trust, and to you I lift up my heart
and my soul.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
2 Sam. 4:1-12
Acts 16:25-40
Mark 7:1-23

Selected Verses
Ps. 143:4, 8a
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
          my heart within me is appalled. 

Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
          for in you I put my trust. 

2 Sam. 4:1-12
When Saul’s son Ishbaal heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. 

Acts 16:27-28
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”                                                                                                                                                            
Mark 7:20-22
And [Jesus] said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles.  For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.