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.

The Cry of the Exile--Oct. 9, 2015

Many the people forced to leave their homeland  
and many the sufferings they have had to endure.

Their persecutors are too strong for them, God;
heed their cries for mercy, Son of David,
for they have been brought very low.

Help us be with the sufferers
and share in their pain.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 51; 148; 142; 65
2 Kings 23:36-24:17
1 Cor. 12:12-26
Matt. 9:27-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 142:6
Give heed to my cry,
          for I am brought very low.
Save me from my persecutors,
          for they are too strong for me. 

2 Kings 24:14
[The king of Babylon] carried away all Jerusalem, all the officials, all the warriors, ten thousand captives, all the artisans and the smiths; no one remained, except the poorest people of the land. 

1 Cor. 12:26
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

Matt. 9:27
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

If Only--Oct. 8, 2015

If only we could touch the fringe
of your cloak and be made whole,

if only we could, like King Josiah,
turn to you with all our hearts;

if only we would recognize
the manifestation of the Spirit
for the common good, which you
have placed in each of us,
and let it lead our lives,

if only we could at all times
trust in you, and pour out
our hearts before you,
then what a refuge
you would be.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 97; 147:12-20; 16; 62
2 Kings 23:4-25
1 Cor. 12:1-11
Matt. 9:18-26

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 Kings 23:25
Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.

1 Cor. 12:11
All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

Matt. 9:20-21
Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind [Jesus] and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.”
Sinners, Ourselves Included--Oct. 7, 2015

Teach us to humble ourselves,
and to examine ourselves,
and to be penitent for
what we discover.

But also make us glad in you,
for we trust in our Lord,
who called sinners,
including us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 89:1-18; 147:1-11; 1; 33
2 Kings 22:14-23:3
1 Cor. 11:23-34
Matt. 9:9-17

Selected Verses
Ps. 33:21
Our heart is glad in [the LORD],
          because we trust in his holy name. 

2 Kings 22:18b-19
Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the LORD. 

1 Cor. 11:28
Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

Matt. 9:13
"…Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'  For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."  [Jesus to the Pharisees]

When Kindred Live Together in Unity--Oct. 6, 2015

How very good, how pleasant it is in the church
when sisters and brothers live together in unity,
when the leaders trust and respect the workers,
and the workers trust and respect the leaders,
and in their hearts think no evil of each other.
Remove the divisions from among us, O God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 42; 146; 102; 133
2 Kings 22:1-13
1 Cor. 11:2-22

Selected Verses
Ps. 133:1
How very good and pleasant it is
          when kindred live together in unity! 

2 Kings 22:6b-7
"…and let [the workers repairing the temple] use [the collection money] to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the house.  But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”  [King Josiah's message to the high priest]

1 Cor. 11:18
For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it.

Matt. 9:4
But Jesus, perceiving [the scribes'] thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? …" 

Cast Out the Demons--Oct. 5, 2015

Cast out the demons, God,
the demons that dwell in us
and make us shed very much
innocent blood, denying justice
to the weak and the orphan,
doing evil in your sight.

As we partake of one loaf 
of bread remind us that we are
all one body in you, and for you,
so cast out the demons, we pray.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5; 145; 82; 29
2 Kings 21:1-18
1 Cor. 10:14-11:1
Matt. 8:28-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 82:3
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
          maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. 

2 Kings 21:16
Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he caused Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

1 Cor. 10:17
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 

Matt. 8:32
And [Jesus] said to [the demons], “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.

To Pray for Those in Prison--Oct. 4, 2015

Look favorably upon your people, O God,
that with a whole heart we may bless your holy name
and walk with faithfulness before you
and do what is good in your sight
and pray fervently for those in prison.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 103; 150; 117; 139
2 Kings 20:1-21
Acts 12:1-17
Luke 7:11-17

Selected Verses
Ps. 103:1
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
          and all that is within me,
          bless his holy name. 

2 Kings 20:2-3
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD: “Remember now, O LORD, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” 

Acts 12:5
While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

Luke 7:16
Fear seized all of [the people who had seen Jesus raise the dead man]; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” 

Rooted Downward, Looking Upward--Oct. 3, 2015

 Wherever we go, we want to follow Jesus,
even if we have nowhere to lay our head;

but God, when we think we are standing,
surround us with your loving presence
and watch over us that we do not fall.

Then let us take root downward
in the earth to serve you here,
while we look upward to you
and bear fruit.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 63; 149; 125; 90
2 Kings 19:21-36
1 Cor. 10:1-13
Matt. 8:18-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 125:2
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
          so the LORD surrounds his people,
          from this time on and forevermore. 

2 Kings 19:30
The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward…

1 Cor. 10:12
So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.

Matt. 8:19-20
A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”