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.

Both Pharisee and Tax Collector--March 1, 2017

[from March 9, 2011 archive]

Two men went up to pray,
Pharisee and tax collector,
and we are like them both.

Like the tax collector, many faults;
like the Pharisee, oblivious of them.

We lack truth in our inward being,
do not see how inapt is our anger.

The pioneer and perfecter of our faith
endured the pain and shame of death;
our hands droop, our knees are weak.

O God, for whom and through whom
all things exist, forgive our sins, and
teach us wisdom in our secret hearts.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5; 147:1-11; 27; 51
Jonah 3:1-4:11
Heb. 12:1-14
Luke 18:9-14

Selected Verses
Ps. 51:6
You desire truth in the inward being;
            therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Jonah 4:9
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?”  And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.”

Heb. 12:2
…looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Luke 18:9-10
[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  …”

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