Psalm 76, which opens our readings for today, has several instructions for the musical leader of worshipers. The first translated words characterize the psalm as a song. No surprise, for one-third of what we know as the Old Testament is written in poetry_pretty close to song already. The next opening words inform us that stringed instruments are involved_they even have a leader, whereupon I imagine a bank of lyres and such.
That might be a fine guess, but the choice does not explain the word Selah which appears immediately after the first and third verses. No stranger in the Psalter, Selah appears therein seventy-one times_no minor role. And the meaning? Probably having to do with cymbals, or a related instrument which gives out a loud, enthusiastic sound, like adding spice to the cooking. Here is zest!
Do you suppose that our predecessors were lusty in their worshipful response to music? I hope so, for that is a sign of enthusiasm, no matter how much on-key or off. Bear with the argument to remember that ‘enthusiasm’ is just one step from ‘en-Theos-ism’_the coming in of God! What a gift for the musical soul! Right now, how about singing or humming a bit of a favorite hymn?