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.

Before the Silver Cord is Broken--June 10, 2016

[From June 15, 2012 archive]

Before it is too late, teach us to turn to you.
The days of trouble will come, and if our pleasure  
is not in you, we will find no happiness or contentment.
Before the silver cord is broken, and our dust returns
to the earth that it was, and our breath returns to
you who gave it—yes, long before that time,
O God, may we lift up our soul to you
in praise and put our trust in you.

Grant us the compassion gently
to help the transgressor, and the wisdom
to avoid temptation ourselves.  Set our mind
not on human things but on divine things,
lest we be a stumbling block to those
who seek to do your will.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 148; 25; 40
Eccl. 11:9-12:14
Gal. 5:25-6:10
Matt. 16:21-28
Selected Verses
Ps. 25:1-2
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
            do not let me be put to shame;
            do not let my enemies exult over me.

Eccl. 12:1, 6-7
Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”…before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it.

Gal. 6:1
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.  Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.

Matt. 16:23
But [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

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