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 King Herod Heard of It--Jan. 28, 2015

[From Jan. 24, 2007 archive]

Holy One of Israel,

You silence the roaring of the seas
and calm the tumult of the peoples.

You have chosen one abhorred and deeply despised,
and made even kings and princes bow down before him.

May we live our lives by faith in him,
who loved us and gave himself for us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
Isa. 49:1-12
Gal. 2:11-21
Mark 6:14a

Selected Verses
Ps. 65:7
You silence the roaring of the seas,
            the roaring of their waves,
            the tumult of the peoples.

Isa. 49:7
Thus says the LORD,
            the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
            the slave of rulers,
“Kings shall see and stand up,
            princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
            the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Gal. 2:20b
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Mark 6:13-29
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known.

How We React to New Leaders--Jan. 27, 2015

[From Jan. 23, 2007 archive]

How unpredictable our reactions
when those we know put on a new mantle.

Paul changed from persecutor to pillar of the faith,
and the churches glorified you because of him.
Jesus rose from common carpenter to healer
and teacher of wisdom in the synagogue,
and even his hometown took offense.

You lifted up leaders for your people—
Moses and Aaron and Samuel;
when they cried to you,
you answered them,
gave them water.

We who walk through spiritual deserts
pray for leaders who will show us
your flowing, gushing water.
Grant that we will follow
when we find them.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
Isa. 48:12-22
Gal. 1:18-2:10
Mark 6:1-13

Selected Verses
Ps. 99:6
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
            Samuel also was among those who called on his name.
            They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.

Isa. 48:21
They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
            he made water flow for them from the rock;
            he split open the rock and the water gushed out.

Gal. 1:23-24
…[the churches of Judea that are in Christ] only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.”  And they glorified God because of me.

Mark 6:3
“…Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?”  And [the people of Jesus' hometown] took offense at him.

Zealous, but for the Right Cause--Jan. 26, 2015

[From Jan. 22, 2007 archive]

Long ago you declared your mighty acts, and made them known;
but your people were unprepared when suddenly they came to pass.

Again your people languish; revive us, that we may rejoice in you.

Make us zealous to be in your presence, as persistent as Jairus;
but guard our zeal, lest like Saul it be for traditions, not for your kingdom.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
Isa. 48:1-11
Gal. 1:1-17
Mark 5:21-43

Selected Verses
Psalm 85:6
Will you not revive us again,
            so that your people may rejoice in you?

Isaiah 48:3
The former things I declared long ago,
            they went out from my mouth and I made them known;
            then suddenly I did them and they came to pass.

Galatians 1:14
I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.

Mark 5:22-23a
Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw [Jesus], fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death.   

Where Shall We Find the Way?--Jan. 25, 2015

[From Jan. 21, 2007 archive]

We seek to be delivered, but where shall we find the way?
Too often the ones to whom we turn are like stubble;
the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves
from the power of the flame—a poor place to get warm!

Perhaps our motivation will be from other believers
who will provoke us to love and good deeds.
Or first must we answer your question at Bethzatha—
after such a long infirmity, do we want to be made well?

Make your way known upon the earth,
your saving power among all nations.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
Isa. 47:1-15
Heb. 10:19-31
John 5:2-18

Selected Verses
Psalm 67:2
…that your way may be known upon earth,
            your saving power among all nations.

Isaiah 47:14
See, [those who study the heavens] are like stubble,
            the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
            from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
            no fire to sit before!

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds…

John 5:6
When Jesus saw [the man who had been ill for 38 years] lying [by the pool called Bethzatha] and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

Strong in the Strength of Your Power--Jan. 24, 2015

[From Jan. 20, 2007 archive]

Make us strong in you, and in the strength of your power,
that we may walk before you in the light of life, even to our old age.

You have borne us from our birth, carried us from the womb;
you have made us, and you will bear us; you will carry and will save.

You have delivered our souls from death, and our feet from falling.
All you have done is amazing; why do we not proclaim it in the Decapolis?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
Isa. 46:1-13
Eph. 6:10-24
Mark 5:1-20

Selected Verses
Psalm 56:13
For you have delivered my soul from death,
            and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
            in the light of life.

Isaiah 46:3-4
Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
            all the remnant of the house of Israel,  
who have been borne by me from your birth,
            carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
            even when you turn gray I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
            I will carry and will save.

Ephesians 6:10
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.

Mark 5:20
And [the man who had been possessed by demons] went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

Already Our Boat Is Being Swamped--Jan. 23, 2015


You are God, and there is no other.
You are God of all the ends of the earth,
and you love all its peoples, with no partiality.
The floods are rising, and our earth, the vessel
in which we all ride, is in danger.

A time of distress is coming,
with the rush of mighty waters.
Will it reach the most vulnerable,
the first to be swamped by rising tides?

Should not all the faithful utter prayer for them?
Should we not change our life style,
our dependence on fossil fuels,
that threatens all life?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Isa. 45:18-25
Eph. 6:1-9
Mark 4:35-41

Selected Verses
Ps. 32:6
Therefore let all who are faithful
          offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
          shall not reach them. 

Isa. 45:22
Turn to me and be saved,
          all the ends of the earth!
          For I am God, and there is no other. 

Eph. 6:9
And, masters, do the same to [your slaves].  Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.

Mark 4:37
A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 

When Transgression Speaks within My Heart--Jan. 22, 2015


When deep within my heart transgression speaks
and there is no fear of you before my eyes,
remind me that nothing is hidden,
except to be disclosed;
nothing is secret,
except to come
to light.
 Woe
to me
if I strive
with my Maker,
I a mere earthen vessel,
you the potter who has formed me.
O let me not be foolish, but understand your will.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
Isa. 45:5-17
Eph. 5:15-33
Mark 4:21-34

Selected Verses
Ps. 36:1
Transgression speaks to the wicked
          deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
          before their eyes. 

Isa. 45:9
Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
          earthen vessels with the potter! 

Eph. 5:17
So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

Mark 4:22
For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light.