Music beautifully and mysteriously blends sound and silence. Even the lovely bird songs of the early morning naturally mirror this gift of both chirping and quiet. The balance between notes and rests creates the unique beauty of each melody. Without the silence, the notes would be an endless cacophony. Through the collaboration of silence and sound, the beauty of the music emerges.
Many scholars suggest that the term Selah, found in Psalm 52 and many others, is a musical or liturgical note indicating the need for a rest or moment of silence in the psalmist’s melody. Selah reminds the listener or reader to take a moment of silence to absorb one section of the psalm before continuing on to the next section. Moments of Selah help us to listen deeply and to let what we have heard sink in, otherwise the endless stream of words can become like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
In our daily lives, we could use more moments of Selah—time for silence—so that we can understand more deeply what we have heard or experienced before moving on. Silence is a counter-cultural concept in our world full of perpetual motion and constant contact. May we embrace the gift of Selah so that we can set aside the cacophony of the world for just a moment and listen for the still small voice of God in the midst of our everyday lives. Selah!
God of silence and sound, God of singing birds, chattering squirrels, and breezes in the leaves, slow me down so that I may receive the blessing of Selah amidst the never-ending noise that surrounds me. Fill me with your love so that the words I speak may be grounded in an awareness of your silent stillness at the center of my being. Amen.
This reading from Amos provides more indication of the reasons for God’s coming judgment. Too many in Israel have been oppressing the poor. They cannot wait for religious festivals to end so that they can make more money through corrupt trade, including what we now call human trafficking. If we understand the psalmist to be David, the warning he issues in this passage concern Saul. Because Saul has turned to evil, God will not allow him to remain in power. While God is love, God also sometimes brings judgment. The author of Colossians extols the elevated status of Christ, who has reconciled us to himself through his death. In Luke, Mary prioritizes spending time with Jesus, while Martha focuses on working for Jesus. It is Mary who receives Jesus’ praise.
Read Amos 8:1-12. Who in your community has been left behind in the famine from hearing the words of the Lord? How can you care for them?
Read Psalm 52. How do you remain rooted in God’s steadfast love when you cry out against injustice?
Read Colossians 1:15-28. What do you need to let fall away to reveal the mystery of Christ in you?
Read Luke 10:38-42. How do you focus on Christ even as you attend to the necessary tasks of daily life?
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