Wedding Lectionary: Psalm 34: (2a or 9a), 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Psalm 34 is probably the most frequent option I see for weddings. Not surprising, for this text has more musical settings and more good settings among the official choices.

Two possible refrains are given, touching again upon the theme of the praise of God:

I will bless the Lord at all times.

or:

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The 34th is an acrostic composition, an ABC (but in the Hebrew alphabet) that tries more successfully than some other psalms to give a coherent thought to prayer. It’s not a perfect ABC, as one letter is missing and two others are switched in the given order.

Anyway, the assigned verses for the wedding are the first eight in the text. The first stanza and the first two lines of the second form a prelude of praise. Along with Psalm 113, they make a fair comparison to the Magnificat.

I will bless the Lord at all times;

his praise shall be ever in my mouth.

Let my soul glory in the Lord;

the lowly will hear me and be glad.

(refrain)

Glorify the Lord with me,

let us together extol his name.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

The portion of the psalm that starts, “I sought the LORD …” details a person who has endured trials and suffering, but possesses the confidence of a person whose prayers have been answered. The focus of this instruction/prayer are the poor and needy who are listening. Psalm 34 is essentially a catechetical exercise disguised as an act of worship. As God is praised, those who hear are instructed or inspired to do the same.

(refrain)

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,

and your faces may not blush with shame.

When the poor one called out, the Lord heard,

and from all his distress he saved him.

(refrain)

The angel of the Lord encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Taste and see how good the Lord is;

blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

(refrain)

This is another of the ordinary time common psalms, one of nine that can replace the psalm of the day in the Sunday or daily Lectionary as a general usage piece.

For the wedding liturgy, this is a good all-purpose match. Maybe it would work best with the Isaac & Rebekah passage from Genesis 24, or the Tobit passages. Perhaps the couple sees themselves as having transcended trials to reach their wedding day. Or perhaps the bride and groom have a particular devotion to the Eucharist. If so, Psalm 34 may be an inspired choice for the wedding liturgy.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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