Pausing With the Word
In my interview with Dr. John Kleinig about Christian Contemplation he introduced the idea that contemplation (or meditation) meant “pausing” with and on the Word of God. When I asked him what that meant he explained:
(Note: this transcript has been edited heavily for clarity and conciseness.)
Dr. John Kleinig:
[It has to do with the biblical teaching on the sabbath]: God instituted the Sabbath, which was a day to do nothing, to pause. Not just for a couple of minutes, but for a whole day. To pause from work and other distractions, not to do anything, but to give space for God, to do his work in their lives.
The author of the Hebrews picks that up and connects it then with the Christian life and hearing the voice of God: pausing to listen and to receive and to see Jesus. And that's supremely in the Divine Service in worship. So worship, if it's done properly, has to do with a deliberate pause, an attempt to give space for meditation.
Now pausing is not something that happens automatically. It's a discipline. It's a discipline of stopping and attending, but not doing nothing. It's pausing to listen, pausing to receive.
Dr. Kleinig is a Lutheran pastor and professor in the Australian Lutheran Church. Among his many books, he has written commentaries on both Leviticus and Hebrews for Concordia Publishing House, and the book that inspired this interview: Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today.
You can listen to the whole interview here: https://www.signpostinn.org/resources/podcast or you can find our podcast on all the popular platforms.