The word contemplation can be defined as thoughtful observation.
When we set down with the Scripture and read it with the understanding that it is a gift given to us out of God’s love toward us then thoughtful observation can become a means of intimate discovery. To spend time reading the accounts of human shortcomings that are met over and over again by God’s efforts of restoration and transformation thoughtful observation brings a realization of how love is magnified. Giving thoughtful observation to forgiveness, calling, indwelling and communion can produce powerful perspectives. Contemplation opens us up to inspiration by the Spirit that indwells our hearts.
We live in the midst of limitation and finiteness. In the Scripture we are told that God wishes for us to become aware of God’s desire for us to want to transcend our limitations and our finiteness. Through contemplation, thoughtful observation, we can grow in our understanding of this desire. This understanding gives us resources that cannot be bought or acquired by any merits on our part. Through thoughtful observation we can come to embrace grace in a more expanded manner. Through thoughtful observation we can find the means to trust providence beyond our understanding. Through time spent in thoughtful observation we can gain confidence that God is present even when our circumstances, situations, feelings, and perspectives pressure us to doubt.
In any relationship there are times for spontaneity and emotional response. However, a relationship that also has its time of thoughtful observation, times of reflection, that allow the encounters of the relationship to be viewed in different and more profound ways, the relationship is given the chance to develop depth. Contemplation requires the giving of time and intent. It is an offering of worthiness. Thoughtful observation is a demonstration of the value and importance of the relationship experience. It is another positive way and means of loving the Lord our God and discovering more deeply just how much the Lord loves us.