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.

Our Prayers Rise before You--Oct. 22, 2014


We thank you, Creator God,
Lord of heaven and earth;
with Christ we rejoice
in the Holy Spirit,
and our prayers
rise before you.
When our deeds of iniquity
overwhelm us, in your gracious
will forgive our transgressions.
Teach us to walk in your way
forever and ever.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
Micah 3:9-4:5
Rev. 8:1-13
Luke 10:17-24

Selected Verses
Ps. 65:3
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
          you forgive our transgressions. 

Micah 4:5
For all the peoples walk,
            each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
            forever and ever.

Rev. 8:4
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

Luke 10:21
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  …"

Salvation Belongs to You--Oct. 21, 2014


Salvation belongs to you,
to you and to the Lamb, O God,
and your kingdom has come near.
Fill us with your Spirit and power;
fill us with justice and might.
In your faithfulness put an
end to our sinfulness.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
Micah 3:1-8
Rev. 7:9-17
Luke 10:1-16

Selected Verses
Ps. 54:5
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
          In your faithfulness, put an end to them.

Micah 3:8a
But as for me, I am filled with power,
            with the spirit of the Lord,
            and with justice and might… 

Rev. 7:10
[The great multitude] cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 

Luke 10:9
"…cure the sick who are [in the town], and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'"

Speak Peace to your People, O God--Oct. 20, 2014


Pray hold back the winds of destruction,
O God, and speak peace to your people,
that we may turn to you with our hearts.

Rebuke those who command fire to rain
down on the earth and consume it;
may your words do good to all
who would walk uprightly.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
Micah 2:1-13
Rev. 7:1-8
Luke 9:51-62

Selected Verses
Ps. 85:8
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
          for he will speak peace to his people,
          to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. 

Micah 2:7b
Do not my words do good
            to one who walks uprightly?

Rev. 7:1
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree.

Luke 9:54-55
When [Jesus'] disciples James and John saw [that the Samaritans did not receive him], they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"  But he turned and rebuked them.

Apps or Idols?--Oct. 19, 2014

[From Oct. 21, 2012 archive]

O God, you call us to praise you
and warn us against worship of idols.

We do not make graven images, or little gods,
but technology produces a host of idols to worship.

Perhaps we have no need to beat our smartphones to pieces
or lay waste to tablets and laptops, media players and apps;

yet if we adhere to Peter's confession, then Jesus is Lord,
and the gadgets that entertain and divert us from him

must take second place to his claim on our lives.
Let all the peoples praise you, O God.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
Micah 1:1-9
1 Cor. 10:1-13
Matt. 16:13-20

Selected Verses
Ps. 67:5
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
          let all the peoples praise you.

Micah 1:7a
All [of Samaria's] images shall be beaten to pieces,
     all her wages shall be burned with fire,
     and all her idols I will lay waste…

1 Cor. 10:7a
Do not become idolaters as some of [our ancestors] did…

Matt. 16:15-16
[Jesus] said to [his disciples], "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

Some Walk Upright, Others Stumble--Oct. 18, 2014


The builders thought they knew
which was the right stone
to use for the corner.
They did not.

The disciples
felt they knew who
were your true followers,
but like the builders were wrong.

O dear God, your ways are right;
the upright walk in them,
but transgressors
stumble.

Make us wise,
make us discerning,
to know and to understand,
lest we end up with the stumblers.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111
Hosea 14:1-9
Acts 28:17-31
Luke 9:37-50

Selected Verses
Ps. 118:22
The stone that the builders rejected
          has become the chief cornerstone. 

Hosea 14:9
Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them.  For the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.

Acts 28:24
Some [of the leaders of the Jews in Rome] were convinced by what [Paul] had said, while others refused to believe. 

Luke 9:49-50
John answered, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us."  But Jesus said to him, "Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you."

For Companions in the Faith--Oct. 17, 2014


We thank you, dear God, for our companions
in the faith.  We take courage from them,
for when in great pain, they were wise
and presented themselves to you.

To you they acknowledged their sins--
they did not try to hide their transgressions--
and you forgave them.  Forgive us, too, when
we fail to listen to your Son, the Chosen.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139
Hosea 13:9-16
Acts 28:1-16
Luke 9:28-36

Selected Verses
Ps. 32:5
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
          and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
          and you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Selah

Hosea 13:13
The pangs of childbirth come for [Ephraim], but he is an unwise son; for at the proper time he does not present himself at the mouth of the womb.

Acts 28:15
The believers from [Rome], when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.  On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.

Luke 9:34-35
While [Jesus] was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed [Peter, John, and James]; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.  Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"

When My Heart Becomes Proud--Oct. 16, 2014

[From Oct. 18, 2012 archives]


You feed me, O God; and I am satisfied,
and my heart becomes proud, and I forget you,

and deep in my heart, transgression speaks to me,
and there is no fear of you before my eyes.

No fear, until suddenly I am running into the rocks;
I let down my anchor; pray for day to come.

Then you remind me--to save my life
I must lose it, for your sake.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 36; 147:12-20; 80; 27
Hosea 13:4-8
Acts 27:27-44
Luke 9:18-27

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

Hosea 13:6
When I fed them, they were satisfied; they were satisfied, and their heart was proud; therefore they forgot me.

Acts 27:29
Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.

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]