Monday, April 11, 2016

Selah - Pausing for Silent Meditation

"...I said to myself, ' I will confess my rebellion to the Lord. And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone! Selah* " Psalm 31:5b

Do you ever follow those little asterisks in your bible down to the subtext? A few weeks ago, I did this for the word "Selah." I've been doing some research and what I've read has been interesting. (see below for a summary)
In the end, for me the action the word calls us to when reading is key! Similar to a musical rest in a piece of music which causes dramatic pause, I understand "Selah" as a moment of silent reflection. In light of that, when I read a section of scripture and get to this word, I pause my reading and meditate on it. I think more deeply about what the writer has just written, how I can relate, and what it means in my own life. 
Try it! It can be powerful if you dig deep. Here are just a few that you can practice reading, pausing, and meditating on this morning. 
  • For you [God] are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Selah  - Psalm 32: 7
  • So many are saying, 'God will never rescue him!'...I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Selah - Psalm 3:2 & 4
  • ...Each of us is but a breath. Selah - Psalm 39:11
  • Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs. Selah - Psalm 66:4
"Selah (/ˈslə/Hebrewסֶלָה‎, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used seventy-four times in the Hebrew Bible—seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. The meaning of the word is not known, though various interpretations are given below. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela‘ (Hebrewסֶלַע‎) which means "rock".) It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen." Selah can also be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm.[1] The Amplified Bible translates selah as "pause, and think of that." It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.
At least some of the Psalms were sung accompanied by musical instruments and there are references to this in many chapters. Thirty-one of the thirty-nine psalms with the caption "To the choir-master" include the word selahSelah may indicate a break in the song whose purpose is similar to that of Amen (Hebrew: "so be it") in that it stresses the truth and importance of the preceding passage; this interpretation is consistent with the meaning of the Semitic root ṣ-l-ḥ also reflected in Arabic cognate salih (variously "valid" [in the logical sense of "truth-preserving"], "honest," and "righteous"). Alternatively, selah may mean "forever," as it does in some places in the liturgy (notably the second to last blessing of theAmidah). Another interpretation claims that selah comes from the primary Hebrew root word salah (סָלָה) which means "to hang," and by implication to measure (weigh)".[2] - Wiki

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Our Family's "DO NOT BOOK" Anniversary

“What is this life so full of care,
We don't have time to stand and stare.” ― W.H. Davies

Today, I'm celebrating!!! One year ago I made a simple change to set a reoccurring appointment for one Saturday per month that says, "DO NOT BOOK." Maybe I was at church trying to schedule time with a close friend and realized we had no time...for months ahead. Maybe I had been longing for the carefree days of my youth when the morning sun would call me to spend the rest of the day outside playing, taking naps under the front porch swing or having pretend adventures up in the pasture. Whatever the trigger, life needed to have more space and time to dream, imagine, create and rest. That day when I looked across the living room at my new daughter, I realized she hadn't had those type of childhood experiences and she was possibly running out of time to have this leisure in her youth! Her life had been a whirlwind before our adoption and was picking up speed into her last years of high school. Next, she'd plow into the college years, jobs, possibly marriage and children. This little bit of time we have is so precious...and certainly it's my job to protect it!!!! 

You would think that reserving 12 little Saturdays out of the year where we book nothing would be easy BUT, let me just tell you it was hard. Yet as I stood my ground on this decision, I've seen the blessings.

So you may wonder what my daughter does on these days? Well, she sleeps until 11am. Yup, and I totally support that 'cause the girl needs sleep!  When she gets up she may have a late breakfast,and afterwards wander into the backyard with her sunglasses on to read her newest book while laying under our monster fig tree. She piddles, rests, and thinks (or not...because sometimes you need your mind to stop!) My son tends to get up earlier than her so after breakfast he goes and gets all smelly (as boys should) while playing with the kids across the street. They play"infection" (for us older folks, that's the modern day version of freeze tag) and they have Nerf gun battles galore! Me? I get caught up on laundry, dishes, and housework. NOT!!!!!! I may read my own newest book or an old classic then take a much deserved nap, or maybe crochet and sit in silence, craft or twenty other "me" things I long to do but normally need to push aside. 

When I look back over my childhood, I'm so thankful that my parents didn't allow all my days to be filled to the brim. That precious time of my past is why I can self-entertain today and not get as swept up in the chaotic life that swirls around me. Children need an emotional and physical margin so they can be kids and as keeper of the calendar, I take it as an honored responsibility to give them the sanctuary of this precious time.