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.

Balaam's Prayer, and Mine--June 28, 2016

[From July 3, 2012 archive]

O God, I am determined to pursue
what I am certain is the correct path;
but the insolent have risen up against me.

I know that rules and righteousness
are completely on my side;
but my way is blocked.

I am ready to beat on any
jackass who will not help me pass,
even one who has been a faithful servant.

Open my eyes to see--have you sent
an angel to block the road?
Have I chosen to rely on
the wrong authority?

Remind me to whom
I belong; make me willing
to change my mind and my way,
that I may bear fruit in your vineyard.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99
Num. 22:21-38
Rom. 7:1-12
Matt. 21:23-32

Selected Verses
Ps. 54:3a
For the insolent have risen against me…

Num. 22:31-32
Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed down, falling on his face.   The angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times?  I have come out as an adversary, because your way is perverse before me.  …"

Rom. 7:4
In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.

Matt. 21:28-29
"What do you think?  A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'  He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went.  …"  [Jesus to religious authorities who questioned his authority]

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