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.

In Your Goodness and Mercy--Sept. 27, 2020


Follow us with your goodness and mercy, dear God.

Follow us, though we make many mistakes.

 

Though we deserve to be called “not your people,”

let us be called “children of the living God.” 

 

You have shown us your treasure, hidden in a field;

fill us with joy, that we may buy the field.

 

Yes, in goodness and mercy, make us your children,

ready to sell all we have for your treasure.

 

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 108; 150; 66; 23

Hosea 1:1-2:1

James 3:1-13

Matt. 13:44-52

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
          all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
          my whole life long.

 

Hosea 1:10

Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 

 

James 3:2

For all of us make many mistakes.  Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.

 

Matt. 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  …”  [Jesus, to his disciples]


To Be with Relatives and Friends--Sept. 26, 2020



I would like to be spending time 

with relatives and friends, 

in particular on special days

and in familiar places,

 

but for the most part, I must be content

with wishes sent: peace and security.

 

Even when I am able to visit, 

I must limit my time

in any one place.

 

I can only imagine

how much harder this was

for Jesus and for Paul, 

as they went from city to city

preaching the good news.

 

Lord, help me pray.

as you taught them.


Lectionary Readings

Ps. 122; 149; 100; 63

Esth. 9:1-32

Acts 20:1-16

Luke 4:38-44

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 122:8

For the sake of my relatives and friends
          I will say, “Peace be within you.”

 

Esth. 9:30

Letters were sent wishing peace and security to all the Jews, to the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus…

 

Acts 20:16

For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; he was eager to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

 

Luke 4:42-43

At daybreak [Jesus] departed and went into a deserted place.  And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them.  But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” 


Climate Disruption--Sept. 25, 2020

 Climate Disruption--Sept. 25, 2020

 

Jesus of Nazareth, 

Holy One of God, 

 

how can we bear to see the calamity 

that is coming to the whole planet? 

 

Our eyes waste away from grief

as we think of all the destruction.

 

Meanwhile, some shout one thing,

some another, confusion abounds.

 

Clear our minds, O Lord; calm us 

to see that we still have time 

to change our ways.

 

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 88; 148; 6; 20

Esth. 8:1-8, 15-17

Acts 19:21-41

Luke 4:31-37

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 6:7

My eyes waste away because of grief;
          they grow weak because of all my foes.

 

Esth. 8:6

“…For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people?  Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?”  [Esther, to the king]

 

Acts 19:32

Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

 

Luke 4:34

“Let us alone!  What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”  [A man who had the spirit of an unclean demon]


The Power of the Spirit--Sept. 24, 2020

 

Other humans may grant us favors, O God,

but it is your gifts that we most value.

 

Your Spirit was on Jesus, 

and he brought to the poor 

good news; to the captives,

release; to the blind, sight;

to the oppressed, freedom.

 

Let your Spirit lead us on a level path,

and teach us to do your will.

Your word prevails.

 

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 143; 147:12-20; 81; 116

Esth. 7:1-10

Acts 19:11-20

Luke 4:14-30

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 143:10

Teach me to do your will,
          for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
          on a level path.

 

Esth. 7:3

Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request.  …”

 

Acts 19:20

So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

 

Luke 4:18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…”  [Jesus, reading from Isaiah in the Nazareth synagogue]


As Mountains Surround Jerusalem--Sept. 23, 2020


 

Temptation comes to us at inopportune times, 

O God; surround your people, 

protect us.

 

When we suppose we are the most worthy 

of reward for the good things we do, 

correct us.

 

When stubbornly we cling to our old ways

and argue against your saving  grace,

rescue us.

 

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 65; 147:1-11; 125; 91

Esth. 6:1-14

Acts 19:1-10

Luke 4:1-13

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 125:2

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
          so the LORD surrounds his people,
          from this time on and forevermore.

 

Esth. 6:6

So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?”  Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” 

 

Acts 19:9

When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, [Paul] left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 

 

Luke 4:13

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from [Jesus] until an opportune time.


What Pleases God--Sept. 22, 2020

 

Mighty King, lover of justice, equity, and righteousness,

forgive me when I become overwrought about trivia;

forgive me when I so worry over being slighted

that I fail to appreciate my many blessings.

 

Remind me what pleases you, O God—

the life of your Son, the Beloved,

filled with the Holy Spirit, 


who lived and died 

 and lives again

for us all.

 

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 54; 146; 28; 99

Esth. 5:1-14

Acts 18:12-28

Luke 3:15-22

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 99:4

Mighty King, lover of justice,
          you have established equity;
you have executed justice
          and righteousness in Jacob.

 

Esth. 5:9

Haman went out that day happy and in good spirits.  But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai…

 

Acts 18:15

“…but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.”  [Proconsul Gallio to the accusers of Paul]

 

Luke 3:22

…and the Holy Spirit descended upon [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”


When to Listen, When to Speak--Sept. 21, 2020

 

Gracious God, we turn to you with our hearts.

Speak to us, speak peace to your people,

and let us hear what you will speak.

 

We must repent and bear fruits

worthy of repentance. 

 

And if we discern 

in such a time as this

that we are called to speak, 

then grant us words and courage. 

 

Lectionary Readings

Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47

Esth. 4:4-17

Acts 18:1-11

Luke 1:1-4, 3:1-14

 

Selected Verses 

Ps. 85:8

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
          for he will speak peace to his people,
          to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

 

Esth. 4:14b

“…Who knows?  Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”  [Mordecai to Esther] 

 

Acts 18:9

One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent…”

 

Luke 3:8a

“…Bear fruits worthy of repentance.  …”  [John the Baptist, to the crowds who came to be baptized]