The line from today’s psalm is perhaps one of the ten most familiar passages in the Psalter:
As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. (Ps 42:2)
But this lament, probably a single piece with Psalm 43, offers a thrice-repeated refrain:
Why are you downcast, my soul; why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God. (Ps 42:6, 11; Ps 43:5)
In musical settings, and even in the Lectionary, the preference seems not to be with the natural refrain of the psalm, but with the tender image of the deer. I recommend the full Psalm 42-43 for reflection. It has a lot to offer: tears, pilgrimage, roaring flood, mountain escape, God’s light of truth. I can imagine a three-movement symphony ending with a depiction of the light of God enveloping a loyal believer.