And pause

October 12, 2020 · Print This Article

To pause is to give yourself time to think.

I’m no linguist but when I saw the title of Roy Lewis’ celebrity portraits entitled ‘Selah’, I knew I had seen this word before. From Ant and Dec to Russian actor Lyanka Gryu, these pictures capture the second of decision – a moment of pause, before something good or bad is to happen. The results are powerful. And you’ll be able to see them from today if you’re walking through train stations in Liverpool. If not, here they are.

Often, life can be seen as a carousel of good and bad, the pathways of our life etched out by decisions we make in the face of such situations. It is moments at the bell curve of fortune that need the benefit of a pause.

This selah, meaning to meditate and pause, was written into and originates from the famous poems turned songs called psalms.

Indeed, this pause was the very purpose of the word used 71 times in these Hebrew poems about the agony and ecstasy of life recorded in 39 of the biblical psalms. These lyrics, some of which plunge the depths of life’s difficult decisions, were put to music. Punctuated throughout is the word selah, giving the reader, singer and musician a reminder to pause and meditate. Maybe this pause was an indication to think on the words just recited.

Some of these words are the kind that get you through a bad day, or just give you pause for thought. So I took a look at these words again and wanted to share one example with you:

From Psalm 62, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”[1]

And pause…

Whatever the good or bad this week brings, it might be worth pausing and thinking that we have someone to talk to, a divine refuge we can go to.

Richard Fowler

Richard is editorial assistant at Because

[1] The Bible, Psalm 62:8
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