the Struggle for Selah. [repost]

I have always been mysteriously fascinated by the word and concept that is Selah. I remembering hearing from a speaker at camp one year about its significance. In fact, it was so important and meaningful to him that he named his daughter after it. He talked about the term and how it is used throughout the Psalms. Scholars are unsure of the exact meaning of the word but have often translated it as a pause in the musical piece, that is a psalm. This pause in the psalm, functions to help us stop and listen, much like a musical interlude would. Jesus frequently said, “let those who have eyes, see; and those who have ears, hear.” Does the presence of the word Selah in scripture, offer moments to see and hear from God? How often do we take those opportunities?

In thinking about the concept of Selah, my mind goes also to the longer moments of Selah, we receive in practicing the Sabbath. Sabbath time is a pause from the routine, a time of Selah if you will. Rob Bell describes it well in saying, “Sculptors shape and form and rearrange, but at the most basic level they take away. And there is an extraordinary, beautiful art to knowing what to take away.” A sculptor sees what others would all together miss in a chunk of wood, slab of marble, or bar of soap. This are masters of unearthing beauty from within.

This hiatus or get away from the daily grind really does provide moments where our eyes and ears can experience God. Without these times, we become like the people to which Isaiah was sent (Isaiah 6:9-10). People who are “ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding” (Mark 4:12). People who are lost in doing rather just being. Therefore, the art of elimination, is an important part of holistic living as it uncovers our inner beauty.

Struggle with me in living out God’s rhythm of creating/working for six days and then resting/pausing upon the arrival of the seventh day.


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