"Selah is the practice we are given between two worlds, this one and the next, to remember this gift of peace. It is a practice, an ongoing work, and we set about it imperfectly, But its constancy is sure. Selah is here. It is among us. We need only stretch open hands and receive.
Peace is among us even in the most chaotic of times. What a beautiful image. We only have to look.
I love that thought.
This has been a wonderful book. I hope you will take the time to read it.
“Sabbath is not primarily about us or how it benefits us; it is about God, and how God forms us.”
"Did you know that the Bible uses the word satisfaction when it talks about the presence of God and manna? Manna is the bread of presence, the only thing that fills us up."
We wonder how worship benefits us - why should I come to worship when I don't get anything from it? Is worship about us? Worship is about coming to honor God. Sabbath is about us sacrificing time to show of allegiance to God. Worship is about coming together as one body to give - to serve - to share love. The result of our sacrifice is being fed the manna of God.
It's sort of like going to an event to show support for the one we love who is participating in the event. While we are at the event we win a weeks supply of food. We didn't go there expecting to win that is a bonus.
“Was it that I felt there was never enough? Was this another way I wasn’t satisfied with my portion, with my bread? Lord, fill my heart with You. Help me to be content.”
Why does this line sound so familiar? Why is it difficult to be content with what we have been given? During these days of pandemic, I have wondered so many times why I struggle to be content with the blessings. I have never been hungry. I have never gone without toilet paper. I have not struggled with the necessities of life, but I have felt discontent with life so often. This chapter talks about the connection between the feeling of scarcity and fear. Both have been talked about continually in our world during the past year. It is hard to be content when we are afraid, we will never know the abundance of connection again. Will we ever be full again…have we ever not been full?
Scripture tells us “If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”
“In selah, in true rest that cuts into our vulnerable prayers, into our lament, into our circumstances and courses, our focus becomes only Jesus. This is the catalyst of revival, of restoration, and of peace.”
I remember a few times in my life when I have experienced the glory of God in such a powerful way that I struggled to stand, I could only kneel. It was so beautiful. It is a place I long to return. I found that place when I intentionally made Christ my only focus. This book has reminded me of my need for making that time. You would think that during COVID I have had more time but actually I have taken less time. When we need it most…
“I wanted selah to cut into the ordinary…if rest had the potential to be perpetual, to be knit into my actual everyday life, it could transform all that was common into anything but. It could reshape the posture of my whole heart.”
“If we allow only splinters of grace to move us, we miss true glory.”
I’ve had to stop watching news channels. I spent too much time focusing on the bad – the chaos. It did not allow for space to see good in the common everyday things of life. The bad rather than God’s glory was shaping me. I needed to be able to see the world through God rather than through the lens of the world. I need to pause and see God’s glory.
To God Be The Glory ( Royal Albert Hall, London) - YouTube
“Whatever you invest yourself in will be reflected in your soul. When I am squeezed, the contents of my heart will spill out. When I am squeezed, the contents of my heart will spill out. If I actively choose to invest in rest, in trust, in kindness, to sow these qualities intentionally into my life, to saturate my mind in Scripture, to actively engage the person of Jesus, I can offer those things to other people.”
There is certainly a difference in what spills from my heart when I’m rested and when I’m tired. When I am rested, I can handle difficulties with much more patience. When I am tired, I have little to no patience with being squeezed. How could my soul be any different than my body? It’s amazing how easily I forget that.
“Music does soothe, doesn’t it? It calms us and connect us in ways science is only just beginning to understand…Christy Merell, a music therapist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital says…” Music has a cool way of working around frayed ends in the brain and either rebuilding old pathways or creating new ones.”
I’ve always known music has a powerful effect on me. It is amazing to me that different genres affect me differently at different times. One day I listen to classical and the next day I might not be able to stand classical music. One day I like gospel but the next I might listen to contemporary, another day I might listen to Gregorian chants. God has given us such a variety of gifts we should not discount any style of music but rather search for what soothes our soul.
Chant of the Mystics: Pater Noster - Our Father - Divine Gregorian Chant - Lord's Prayer - Latin - YouTube
“I began to realize how the breath of selah didn’t just revive me, but changed me wholly. In the psalms, as the pattern of prayer travels from pain to praise and back again, God Himself is there, changing the perspective of the heart.”
I cannot count the times I have needed a new perspective. When I’ve been able to talk through a situation with a trusted friend, they are able to help me find new ways of seeing, thinking, reacting. Talking through the situation with God is even more powerful. Listening to the Word. Listening to song. Listening to the silence. Listening… changes me.
The Sound Of Silence by Wuauquikuna | Panflute | Toyos | - YouTube
“Sound, the planetarium exhibit explains, precedes the expansion of the stars. Before the universe moves out and onward, before creation expands, there is a noise – or rather, I believe, a voice. Audible. Present. And now, heard…the voice of God that is never silent, but always with us. He commands the stars to sing and to dance even now, with a tenor so powerful it registers on human technology”
What beautiful words. It is amazing to imagine that God’s voice is always calling, speaking, sounding. We must take pause and listen - selah. We must look for a place to pause and allow the presence of God to speak. There we will find the calm in the midst of the chaos.
The creation of the world - Original Soundtrack Music by Héctor Pérez Composer. - YouTube
“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.” G.K. Chesterton.
“I realized my own vision was so very small…What if our affection for our city became so great that we sought the best for her?”
What size is our vision for life? How great are our affections for our city…our church…our families? Our vision expands as our love expands. Our love expands only through the one who is love, God.
In a piece of music “a rest is more than a hollow between notes; it is where the strings become steady and ready, waiting for the bow to stir them to life. When we slow and become subject to God’s cadence, there is often a break before He brings the symphony – a measure, a bar, just a moment to exhale in expectation.” In psalms “selah was the signal for the musicians to rest, to pause, to cease.” “The rhythm…Outcry, Rest, Relief, Praise.”
The rhythm of life we cry out to God. God gives us pause. We find relief. We praise God for God’s response. Others see our rhythm which sparks a fire in their soul to seek a similar rhythm for their life. God’s glory is spread throughout the earth.
Rhythm of Life lyrics (On Screen) - YouTube
“The joy of reaching out is found in knowing that the melody of God heals. It ties together all our sonatas and crescendos, all the cacophony into chorus. Life is not merely one bar followed by another but sheets upon sheets of rhythm and refrain merging into symphony.”
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you…will rejoice over you with singing.”
I love this description of life – life is sheets upon sheets of rhythm and refrain – I took time to listen to bohemian rhapsody played by an orchestra and as a solo. The depth the orchestra brings is a whole different sound. The mixture of sounds makes the song come alive. Life lived on one plane – one sheet of music – doesn’t have much depth.
Bohemian Rhapsody for Symphony Orchestra and Solo Viola - THE STUDIO RECORDING - YouTube
“’You call forth songs of Joy’ Could you call forth a song of joy in me, Jesus? Bring a melody out of my discord?”
How can we find silence – peace when our mind and body are struggling with depression? Can a song of joy be found in the struggle? The darkness of depression is heavy. It presses down upon our body, soul, and mind. How can we sing when we are pressed upon? It is difficult to image.
I listen to music called death hymn. It is filled with pain, darkness, tears, but out of that comes a strange beauty. It is hard to explain such beauty, but it is there.
Dark Music - Death Hymn - YouTube
How encumbered are we by things?
How many of our things take our focus away from God?
A Simple Life - YouTube
The Word is Alive and Powerful.
Psalm 59 Song (NKJV) "God is My Defense" (Esther Mui) - YouTube
Sin is heavy - the load to great to bear.
Thankfully Jesus took our sins - we just need to pause and unload, make amends, remove barriers.
Prayer To Confess Things To God That You're Secretly Struggling With - YouTube
Do we really pay attention to what's going on around us?
Do we pay attention to our family members?
Do we pay attention to our spouse?
Do we pay attention to God?
Giving up something can make room for something more. Fasting is a way of humbling yourself. It is a practice of self-denial.