It is unlikely you have seen a dead creature come alive, but you will have seen a plant, or shrub which at the end of winter appeared to be dead come alive with an upsurge of energy in spring. Before the seasonal rainfall occurs the open veld in the West coast region appears bereft of life, but in season it comes alive with a carpet of floral colour. Through the skill of a professional a subject or activity in which we had no interest can suddenly come alive. I once had an amateur astronomer in the congregation. One night he took me to his garage roof where his telescope was housed. In that one visit the enthralling activity of astronomy and the dazzling dimension of reality his telescope revealed came alive for me in a dramatic way.
Using the metaphor ‘to come alive’ includes, for me, the elements of interest, discovery, mystery, excitement, dimension, change of view, widening horizon, alertness, awareness, enrichment. It is a salutary self-examination to ask ‘What am I alive to? What is real to me? What excites my mind and ignites my plugs – is it sport, fashion, cell phone, crossword, computer, or God?
What do we mean by coming alive to God? This is a question the Bible deals with. There are repeated references to the ‘living God’. Josh.3:10 ‘This is how you will know that the living God is among you’. Dan.6:26 ‘He is the living God and he endures forever’. Ps.42:2 ‘My soul thirst for God, the living God’. Rom.9:26 they will be called ‘children of the living God’. When Paul visited Athens where religion was observed speaking of God he said: ‘The God who made the world and everything in it….does not live in temples built by human hands….In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:24,28).
Throughout the Bible are many stories and incidents of a whole range of ordinary people who come ‘alive to the living God’. Their concept of God being shaped by their experience and knowledge vastly different to ours. Centuries of science and technological development have resulted in drastic changes to our understanding of the universe. Are we today alive to the ‘living God’, or are we in our worship (and in our thinking) replaying an old recording and reminiscing of something past? It is a pleasant experience, but it is not charged with a current dynamic. It is outdated. The live factor is missing. I remember in the science room being shown a drawer full of exquisite butterflies with wings outspread, but pinned to a board. I imagined how once their iridescent choreography had illuminated the countryside, now they were imprisoned in a drawer. Is that a picture of God for us? At Pentecost the Pillar of Fire in their history record became a flame of fire burning in their heart. They came alive to God.
We can kindle the flame by declaring each morning “God is alive!’ He is not imprisoned in the past. His energy is throbbing in the evolution of the ever expanding universe. Cosmology, ecology, quantum physics, are fields of his current activity. We need not live with memories or mementos, God is present. Incarnation is not confined to Christmas it is a daily dynamic wherever his will and love become real in a human being. The theologian, Ilia Delio, writes, ‘God is an immanent-transcendent fullness of love’, and ‘Love is the fundamental energy of evolution’. Let me come alive to the whispers, nudges and touches of that love every day. That is the love death cannot touch.
Albert Einstein wrote, ‘My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God’. As the world renowned scientist he had come, in his own mind, ‘alive to God’.
Let’s open our eyes in the morning and come alive to his presence. Open the curtains and come alive to his beauty. In our daily routine let’s come alive to the sacredness that lies hidden in everything, in the familiar person we meet, in the ordinary scenes of our surroundings, or in the opportunity to serve another. Come alive to God in the garden and news media, in silence and super-market, in yourself and others. To come alive to the living God, not some false image of him, is our sole purpose for living and the key to healthy, wholesome relationships. Let this be our prayer. ‘Breathe on me breath of God, Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do”.