I am an emeritus professor from Cornell University and was 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.

Alas, My House Is Set on High--Nov. 19, 2012


Alas, for me.  My house is set on high,
a nest to keep me safe from harm.
And at my gate a poor man lies,
hungry for the crumbs that
may fall from my table.

The very stones cry out from the wall,
and the plaster responds from the woodwork.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful--
not that I may hide in the shadow of your wings,
but that my faith in your mercy may be brought
to completion by the mercy I know I must show.

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47

Hab. 2:1-4, 9-20
James 2:14-26
Luke 16:19-31

Selected Verses

Ps. 57:1

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
          for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
          until the destroying storms pass by.

Hab. 2:9, 11
"Alas for you who get evil gain for your house,
            setting your nest on high
            to be safe from the reach of harm! 
The very stones will cry out from the wall,
            and the plaster will respond from the woodwork.  …"
[The LORD in answer to the prophet's complaint]

James 2:22
You see that faith was active along with [Abraham's] works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.

Luke 16:20
"…And at [the rich man's] gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples]

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