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.

Fire, Hammer, Heavy Hand--April 2, 2017

[From 2013 archive]

God, your word can be fire,
or a hammer that breaks rocks;
and your hand can be heavy upon us.

Christ calls us to life by losing it for his sake,
and to freedom by becoming a slave to all.

But if we are willing, the fire purifies;
the hammer cracks open hard hearts;
and your hand will lead and protect,
if only we learn what it means to
serve you and truly be free.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 84; 150; 42; 32
Jer. 23:16-32
1 Cor. 9:19-27
Mark 8:31-9:1

Selected Verses
Ps. 32:4
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
          my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.     Selah

Jer. 23:29
Is not my word like fire, says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

1 Cor. 9:19
For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.

Mark 8:35
"…For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.  …"  [Jesus to his disciples and to the crowd]

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