Selah

There’s a word in the Hebrew Bible that is unknown.  Nobody knows what it means or really how it should be pronounced.  It occurs usually at the end of a verse, but not always.  In some places it comes in the middle of a sentence or verse.  See Psalms 55:19 and 57:3; and Habakkuk 3:3, 9, and 13.  There are many speculations about what it might mean.  Since the Psalms were set to music, it may be a musical or literary term.  Here are some of the ideas about its meaning:

  • “stop and listen”
  • “pause and think”
  • a break in the song
  • a change in rhythm, melody or instrumentation
  • “amen”
  • “forever”
  • “hang” (as in measuring an item’s weight)
  • “always”
  • a change of thought or theme
  • “lift up,” “exalt,” “cast up”
  • “loud,” “fortissimo” (cymbals please!)
  • voices hushed; musical interlude

It’s been used in modern applications, too, from Rastafarian to U2.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean, but I know what it means to me.

Selah.  Stop.  Think. Listen.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week as I’ve come across special verses and quotes (in any book) that are meaningful to me.  Usually I grab my notebook and write them down quickly and move on.  But God is saying “Selah” — stop and think about what you just read.  Listen to Me.  Wait.  Hang with Me a few more minutes.  Rest.  Selah.

Let’s do that this Easter week.  Let’s stop and think; wait and listen, be quiet, be still, and exalt Him.

Someone suggested this very useful idea:  spend a few moments each day just being still and quiet before God.  No thoughts (she said, when they come just flick them away like little boats down a river).  No prayers.  No reading.  Just be still.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  “Here I am Lord.”

When He speaks it may be in the form of an invitation.  If you are thinking, “I should be doing this,” or “I shouldn’t have said that,” just flick those thoughts away.  God’s voice will come in the way of an invitation — “Come away with Me and relax,” or “Don’t be afraid,” or perhaps a friend’s face will appear in your mind and you’ll know how to join God in loving them in some way.  We don’t initiate these invitations; God does.  And sometimes we hear nothing from Him at all; that’s OK too.  But it’s worth it to stop and sit quietly before Him, especially if you’re trying to make a decision or stressed about something.

Selah.  Stop.  Rest.  Relax.  Wait.  Be still.  Exalt.  Listen.  Pause.  Think.  Selah!

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Rothenburg, Germany

Sarah and I walked around the city of Rothenburg on the high walls that surround the city.  It’s truly special.  First you climb several stairs and then you’re on your way.

It’s a great way to see the city.

There are many towers to go through on your way.

There’s really nothing else quite like it.

Isn’t it amazing?

 

 

 

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Sarah and I were very recited to return to Rothenburg, which we had visited when we travelled with Ambassadors of Music.  This ancient walled city is beautiful, and even more so at Christmas time.

The shops were full of delightful displays.

The darkened streets were fun to wander; something new was around every corner.

 

We ate more than one meal in Rothenburg and the food was outstanding.

This is a great town to stay in for a while; I’ll share more photos on my next post.

Otterberg, Germany

Now it was time to visit Otterberg, Germany again.  I love this town where our ancestors lived in the early 1700’s.  This was Sarah’s first chance to see the area, and though their Christmas market was over it still was beautifully decorated inside the church.

I wonder if our ancestors gazed upon the same rose window?

Did they use these same decorative door handles?

Or touch this podium?

Hans Nicolaus Kuntz was the almoner of the village in 1703; did he stand in front of the congregation (like I do) and ask people to donate to the needs of children in poverty?

Surely they used this well to collect water before embarking on the long migration to Ireland in 1709, due to their own hardship when Austrian troops came through and overtook their home.

Surely they walked these same streets and were happy to see familiar buildings when they returned from Ireland in 1718.

How thrilled they must have been to see the church again, only to bid farewell to it for the last time when they immigrated to the New World in 1735.

Some beautiful carvings remain behind; perhaps these tell the stories of these brave, strong people.

 

Baden-Baden, Germany

The next stop on our tour of Christmas markets last year was Baden-Baden, Germany.  This was a really special market place.

Just beyond the market was a unique display of artwork that was gorgeous.

Once again, the food got our attention, but not only the food, the restaurant itself.  It was an enclosed porch of a beautiful hotel, but cold enough that they provided blankets at each chair.  So nice and cozy with warm cider!

Really yummy!

The breakfast buffet was fantastic too.

 

Colmar, France

Our second stop in search of Christmas markets last year was at Colmar, France.  This was in a beautiful part of the city called “La Petite Venise,” and you can see why with all the canals.

There were plenty of holiday decorations all around.

There was even a carnival with a fun roller coaster with “seats” in the shape of horses (and yes, they rocked back and forth as they went around the track).

Once again, the food was outstanding.

The markets had thousands of fun items to see.

There were many nativities all around too.

These faces carved into the entryway of the old cathedral were fascinating to me.

We will never forget beautiful Colmar!

 

Strasbourg, France

Here are more photos from Strasbourg last year during the after-Christmas markets.  Everything was decorated so beautifully.

Of course, the food is always good in France.

I called this “the sink that wasn’t a sink.”