Psalm 22, 28 Feb 2021

This psalm generally appears on Good Friday by virtue of verse 1, which Jesus quoted on the cross, and subsequent predictions:

My God, why have you forsaken me?

Opening verses of Psalm 22 in the Luttrell Psalter from Northern England around 1340. Held in the British Library, Add MS 42130.

However the reading this Sunday (Lent 2) starts much later in the song, at verse 23. A different kettle of fish altogether, as the psalmist sings a hymn of praise to a powerful and just God who, ultimately, rules over the nations despite the  evidence of chaos all around.

This is a divine kingdom of love in which “the poor shall eat and be satisfied”, and future generations will “proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn.” There is a strong theme of continuity.


Mendelssohn window in St Thomas Church, Leipzig.

Together in Song 9 is definitely pitched at Good Friday usage. However, In the presence of your people’, a Hebrew song at TiS 727, makes reference to a couple of verses of the psalm.

An extended version quoting more verses appears in Psalms for All Seasons 22F. Also recommended is Psalms for All Season 22D using the Alternate refrain: ‘All the ends of the earth’, which quotes verse 27. The Lectionary text is then sung to a tone provided or one of choice.

Neither TiS 9 nor 727 presents the full text of this compelling psalm, but both are fun to sing — and dance if so inclined!

For general comments on the psalm and its music, please see the home page Psalm 22: Forsaken? >

And for a rumination on Mendelssohn and Psalm 22, see the April 2020 post ‘Psalm 22 again”>

For WVUC: This year with the regular Cantor occupied with other activities, we plan to sing TiS 727.  However, any singer wishing to present a responsorial setting please contact the webmaster.

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