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.

How Comfort the Mother?--Aug. 2, 2014

[From Aug. 4, 2012 archive]

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

You have given all authority to Jesus;
you exalted him at your right hand;

you gave him the promise of the
Holy Spirit to pour out on us.

But God, how do we comfort the mother
who peers out of her window and asks
why her son is so long in coming?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63
Judg. 5:19-31
Acts 2:22-36
Matt. 28:11-20

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.

Judg. 5:28
"Out of the window she peered, the mother of Sisera gazed through the lattice: 'Why is his chariot so long in coming?  Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?'  …"

Acts 2:33
"…Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, [Jesus] has poured out this that you both see and hear.  …"  [Peter preaching to the crowd at Pentecost]

Matt. 28:18
And Jesus came and said to [his eleven disciples], "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  …"

With Deep Searchings of Heart--Aug. 1, 2014


[From Aug. 3, 2012 archive]

You tell us not to be afraid--you know
we are searching for the crucified one.

Sometimes we sneer, conclude this is all foolishness,
those who told of it must have been filled with new wine.

Still, with deep searchings of heart we seek after him;
be gracious to us, O God, for we are languishing.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20
Judg. 5:1-18
Acts 2:1-21
Matt. 28:1-10

Selected Verses
Ps. 6:2
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
          O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.

Judg. 5:15c
"…Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.  …"  [from the song of Deborah and Barak]

Acts 2:13
But others sneered and said, "[The ones speaking in other languages] are filled with new wine."

Matt. 28:5
But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  …"

Women Like the Ones Who Followed Jesus--July 31, 2014


[From Aug. 2, 2012 Archive]

O God, you know everyone's heart.
I am your servant, child of your serving girl.

I would not have gone with you if my mother
had not been with you already, and her mother as well.

Thank you for women like the ones who followed Jesus,
who provided for him, and who stayed with him to the very end.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116
Judges 4:4-23
Acts 1:15-26
Matt. 27:55-66

Selected Verses
Ps. 116:16
O LORD, I am your servant;
          I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
          You have loosed my bonds.

Judges 4:8
Barak said to [the prophetess Deborah], "If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go."

Acts 1:24a
Then [the eleven apostles] prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart.  …"

Matt. 27:55
Many women were also [at the crucifixion], looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him.

Our Forsaken Deliverer--July 30, 2014


[From Aug. 1, 2012 archive]

You deliver those who love you,
protect those who know your name.

For example, you raised up a left-handed
Benjaminite to deliver Israel from the Moabites.

From our limited perspective, there are exceptions.
Jesus knew your name, cried it out in a loud voice.

(As he told the apostles, it is not for us to know
what you have set by your own authority.)

And we confess it was through Jesus,
in our eyes forsaken on the cross,
that you delivered us.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91
Judg. 3:12-30
Acts 1:1-14
Matt. 27:45-54

Selected Verses

Ps. 91:14
Those who love me, I will deliver;
          I will protect those who know my name.

Judg. 3:15a
But when the Israelites cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man.

Acts 1:7
[The risen Jesus] replied [to the apostles], "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.  …"

Matt. 27:46
And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Why Not Yourself, Jesus?--July 29, 2014


[From July 31, 2012 archive]

Jesus, you were wise in what is good, 
and you were guileless in what is evil. 

You were moved with pity by the groaning 
of those who were persecuted and oppressed. 

But with mischief in their hearts, workers of evil 
mocked you--if you saved others, why not yourself? 

We have often heard the answer, yet plaintively ask anew: 
Why did not God deliver you from the hand of your enemies? 

Lectionary Readings 
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99 
Judg. 2:1-5, 11-23 
Rom. 16:17-27 
Matt. 27:32-44 

Selected Verses 
Ps. 28:3 
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
          with those who are workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors,
          while mischief is in their hearts. 

Judg. 2:18 
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who persecuted and oppressed them.

Rom. 16:19b 
…I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil.

Matt. 27:41-42a 
In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking [Jesus], saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself.  …"

Far Be it from Us to Forsake God?--July 28, 2014


Far be it from us to forsake you, O God,
for you are faithful in all your words
and gracious in all your deeds.

But would we be like Prisca and Aquila,
who risked their necks for Paul's life,
or like Jesus, who was crucified?

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 145:13b
Josh. 24:16-33
Rom. 16:1-16
Matt. 27:24-31

Selected Verses
Ps. 145:13b
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
          and gracious in all his deeds. 

Josh. 24:16
…Then the people answered [Joshua], "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods…"

Rom. 16:3-4a
Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life…

Matt. 27:31
After mocking [Jesus], [the Roman soldiers] stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him.  Then they led him away to crucify him.

When We Revere Your Laws, not You--July 27, 2014


Holy God, you blessed us with your laws,
but forgive us if we worship the laws,
failing to revere you and serve you
in sincerity and faithfulness.  
Heal our hearts, that we
may turn to you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 67; 150; 46; 93
Josh. 24:1-15
Acts 28:23-31
Mark 2:23-28

Selected Verses
Ps. 67:7
May God continue to bless us;
            let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Josh. 24:14a
"…Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness…"  [Joshua to all the people]

Acts 28:27b
"'…so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn--and I would heal them.'  …"  [Paul, quoting Isaiah to Roman visitors] 

Mark 2:27-28
Then [Jesus] said to [the Pharisees], "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."