Saturday, March 12, 2011


Posted by Picasa These are the southern steps to the the temple, with the Mount of Olives facing the Eastern Gate, in the distance.

The steps are staggered in width, with two short and then one long. A young Israeli woman showed us a 3 D presentation on the temple as it was before its destruction by the Romans in A.D.70, and explained that the reason for the staggered steps was to cause those ascending them to pause on the longer steps and reflect, and to approach the temple with due reverence:
The risers on the steps are low, between seven and ten inches, and the treads vary between twelve and thirty-five inches; this irregularity forces a person to adopt an slow and deliberate gate when using the staircase, as if in a procession. The Jerusalem Temple and the New Testament )
It makes me think of the word "selah" which appears in the book of Psalms and Habakkuk 3. Some believe the word is a musical direction to the singers or instrumentalists to pause or take a breath. The Amplified Bible adds  “pause and calmly think about that” where ever the word appears--an invitation to slow down and consider God, just like the steps.

As we come together to worship tomorrow, although the steps to our churches may be uniform, or maybe you'll be riding up a ramp; may our hearts be slowed down to Sabbath speed and be uncluttered, worshipful, and open.

Happy Sabbath! Or as we heard in Israel, Shabbat Shalom!

Psalm 66:4 (Amplified Bible)

4All the earth shall bow down to You and sing [praises] to You; they shall praise Your name in song. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Belinda for sharing the inticate details and visuals with us. I am sitting here in awe of what you have shared. Our son did a presentation and model of the temple in High School (secular High School) and he also loved reading this post. Thank you again for bringing us on this journey with you.

Julie said...

Anonmymous was me.... Julie, technology and I have stuggles at time and this was one of them. lol

Belinda said...

Hi Julie,
Bravo for your son! I pray that one day his feet can walk where ours did. There was so much....

Jan said...

This is a wonderful post. We are signed up to go on a trip next year with the church from Arizona.
Thanks for telling us the meaning of Selah and for a fabulous description of the steps.

Belinda said...

Oh, Jan! I am so happy for you. I have been homesick for Jerusalem ever since we left!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Belinda, I loved this post. The idea of the staggered steps created all sorts of images in my mind. It's like a 'disabling' of the ease that most people have in movement, a purposeful move to make progress more deliberate. I have noticed how much more I notice now that I experience disability. Now that I have to give thought to 'getting there' I now pay attention to 'the journey'. Yesterday I was at a huge community event with people with intellectual disability and it was easy to see how much more they understood the celebration and the sheer purpose of 'being'. I wondered, somewhat fantastically, if disability - understood properly was much more of a gift from God than a burden by fate. I wondered if in those staggered steps was a message about the caution that the easy arrogence of the 'typical' and the assumption of superiority over the different. Sorry for using your post for my tangent.

Belinda said...

Dave it is a wonderful and thought provoking tangent. Thank you for adding your perspective on the staggered steps and the purposeful handicapping of the arrogantly able.