Psalm 55: Lighten the load

‘Cast your burden on God, who will sustain you.’ (22)

Thus the psalmist counsels us to cast our burdens, including angst at discrimination and injustice, upon the divine spirit, who will help. (1 Peter 5:7) In this psalm, the first of seven sequential omissions from the Lectionary, the grief is caused by false witness or betrayal by someone who was considered a friend:

My companion hurt a friend and broke a covenant with speech softer than butter — but war is in his heart. (20, 21)

If nothing else, this psalm should encourage us to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Eph. 4:15) — and then stick to it.

Several of the settings in Choralwiki use just a few verses, often 2 to 4 which are a plea to be heard in times of anguish. The show-stopper is one by Giovanni Gabrieli (1554 ‒ 1612) for 12 parts in three choirs. However, there are also four-part settings by Lassus and Mendelssohn.

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