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Advent Day 7

Contemplative Life & Selah Center

By MARY PANDIANI
Executive Director
Selah Center

Pauses hold possibilities, hope, healing, and perspective. Encounters engage all of who we are with the one who created us. Growth happens in love which moves us towards wholeness through the freedom of God’s abiding presence.

This is the invitation Selah offers through its unique charism—the gift given to others—the pause, the encounter, and growing together. Our intention statement below reflects the space from what is to what can be, a new moment, pregnant with the power of the Spirit who imbues life, abundant life:

Selah is a welcoming community

that PAUSES,

ENCOUNTERS the Spirit through

contemplative practices, and

GROWS TOGETHER toward wholeness

and loving others.

Our name, Selah, is birthed out of noticing the value of pausing before responding. From the Hebrew Psalms and Old Testament books, Selah means to lift up within a song of praise and in times of lament. It gives space between one stanza and another to offer breath amidst what is given. 

By being a “welcoming community,” we reflect the value of hospitality that welcomes those who want to come to the table of what we offer and who we are. These values reinforce that we believe all belong to God, and as a community, we hope to accompany those who want to know God in deeper and more meaningful ways. 

For the verbs, we choose “pause,” “encounter,” and “grow together”—verbs that sustain our priorities of what it means to be part of Selah. 

Pause.

Encounter.

Grow Together.

Pausing offers the opportunity to be present to those around us, to ourselves, and God.

Encountering means that God is already present in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, along with the ongoing work of the Spirit, who is the Divine presence. Through spiritual practices, we find the necessary scaffolding to prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies for God’s presence. 

The pausing, the practicing, and the awareness that comes with contemplation flourish in places where we gather with others to share in the presence of God. Our hope through pausing, encountering, and growing together leads us to greater wholeness and loving others. 

This contemplative life is not meant for ourselves alone. In the fullness of God’s loving embrace, we can extend ourselves in uncomfortable and challenging places, knowing that the stretching and risking lead to healing for wholeness, reflecting in the person God has created us to be.

Through this intention, we listen for God’s invitation to this place of wholeness and loving others. Knowing that it is not by our efforts, we live into God’s embracing love and grace that beckon us into deeper places of community with one another, ourselves, and God. In a world of rhetoric and noise, a place of speed that over-speaks and interrupts, a society that wants certainty without its gift of mystery, Selah offers a posture of listening through the pause, encounter, and growth.

And yet…waiting is at the heart of this season called Advent. We anticipate the joy of once again celebrating the Light that has come into the world. Receiving that good news with joy requires preparation. Advent allows us to join others and God while we wait and prepare. In the waiting, can we also be alert to the wondrous light that seeks to shine through every ordinary moment? Advent is a time to pay careful attention to that gift of Light.