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.

A Bandit to Arrest, or the Glory of God?--Aug. 29, 2015

[From Aug. 31, 2013]

Lord Jesus, some looked at you and saw a bandit to arrest;
and everywhere you and your people were spoken against.

But others looked at you and beheld your power and glory,
glory like the glory of God, glory that filled the holy place.

O Jesus, fill our eyes with the sight of your glory, we pray.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
1 Kings 7:51-8:21
Acts 28:17-31
Mark 14:43-52

Selected Verses
Ps. 63:2
 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
          beholding your power and glory.

1 Kings 8:11
…so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

Acts 28:22
"…But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."  [The leaders of the Jews in Rome to Paul]  

Mark 14:48
Then Jesus said to [the crowd bearing weapons], “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?  …"

Your Betrayer at Hand--Aug. 28, 2015

[From Aug. 30, 2013 archive]

Sometimes we are pleased to arrive at our destination;
perhaps we even find there rest on every side,
free from adversaries and misfortune.

But you, Jesus, found yourself in the depths of the Pit,
in regions dark and deep, your betrayer at hand,
and no one to stand by and comfort you.

Forgive us when we fail to watch those in need,
when instead we sleep and take our rest,
leaving them to suffer all alone.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
1 Kings 5:1-6:1, 7
Acts 28:1-16
Mark 14:27-42

Selected Verses
Ps. 88:6
You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
          in the regions dark and deep.

1 Kings 5:4
"…But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. …"  [Solomon to King Hiram]

Acts 28:14b
And so we [Paul and companion(s)] came to Rome.

Mark 14:41-42
[Jesus] came a third time and said to [Peter, James, and John], "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  Enough!  The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going.  See, my betrayer is at hand."

How Do We Find the Way?--Aug. 27, 2015

[From Aug. 29, 2013 archive]

Solomon knew how to identify the true mother;
Paul knew that if the sailors left the ship;
everyone else on board would die.

Jesus knew how to tell his disciples
where they could find a room for Passover.
But for us, discernment does not come so easily.

We will lift up our soul to you in the morning,
O God; let us hear of your steadfast love,
and teach us the way we should go,
for in you we will put our trust.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
1 Kings 3:16-28
Acts 27:27-44
Mark 14:12-26

Selected Verses
Ps. 143:8
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
          for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
          for to you I lift up my soul.

1 Kings 3:27
Then the king responded: "Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother."

Acts 27:31
Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

Mark 14:13-14
So [Jesus] sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’…"

She Did what She Could for Jesus--Aug. 26, 2015

[From Aug. 28, 2015  archive]

Lord Jesus, the woman who poured ointment
on your head did what she could for you.

When we encounter the brokenhearted,
help us do what we can for them.

When everyone has abandoned
all hope of being saved,

we ask you to help us
do what we can.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
1 Kings 3:1-15
Acts 27:9-26
Mark 14:1-11

Selected Verses
Ps. 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted,
          and binds up their wounds.

1 Kings 3:5
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I should give you."

Acts 27:20
When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Mark 14:8
"…[The woman who poured ointment on my head] has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.  …"  [Jesus to those who criticized the woman]

We Do not Know When--Aug. 25, 2015

[From Aug. 27, 2013 archive]

We do not always hear good news when we want to hear it.
Sometimes the wind is against us and the journey hard.
Keep us alert, Lord Jesus; we do not know when
our breath will depart us and we will return
to the earth and our plans will perish.
O, be with us now, with us then.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
1 Kings 1:32-2:46
Acts 26:24-27:8
Mark 13:28-37

Selected Verses
Ps. 146:4
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
          on that very day their plans perish.

1 Kings 1:42
While [Joab] was still speaking, Jonathan son of the priest Abiathar arrived.  Adonijah said, "Come in, for you are a worthy man and surely you bring good news."

Acts 27:7
We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind was against us, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.

Mark 13:33
"…Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.  …"  [Jesus to Peter, James, John, and Andrew]

Hearts Steadfast Like David's--Aug. 24, 2015

[From Aug. 26, 2013 archive]

The heart of David was steadfast;
he kept his promise to make Solomon king.
When you call us to act may our hearts be steadfast,
whether we must flee to hide in the mountains
or stand on our feet to serve and to testify.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
1 Kings 1:1-31
Acts 26:1-23
Mark 13:14-27

Selected Verses
Ps. 57:7
  My heart is steadfast, O God,
          my heart is steadfast.

1 Kings 1:30
"…as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so will I do this day."  [King David to Bathsheba]

Acts 26:16
"'…But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you.  …'"  [Paul recounting to King Agrippa how Jesus spoke to him in a vision]

Mark 13:14
"But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains…"  [Jesus to Peter, James, John, and Andrew]
In Our Darkness, Destruction--Aug. 23, 2015
[From Aug. 21, 2011 archive]

Lord Jesus, you are the light of the world.
Nevertheless, we walk in darkness
and innocents are destroyed.
What have they done?

Lord, may your way be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations,
that in you we all may be one.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
2 Sam. 24:1-2, 10-25
Gal. 3:23-4:7
John 8:12-20

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

2 Sam. 24:17
When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the LORD, "I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done?  Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house."

Gal. 3:28
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to [the Pharisees], saying, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."