My prayer, as the new year begins, is, “Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.” God is alive. God is active. I have the Bible to tell me about God’s revelation and activity in the past. My faith is not dependent on the revelation reflected in the Bible. For I can see God. One might ask, “How?” This would be a logical question. Proofs for God’s existence have long been a viable philosophical category. Is my confidence in God based on a philosophical proof? No. I did not start from the question of whether or not God exists. My starting point is awareness of God’s presence. I accept God’s existence as a matter of faith, tradition, and experience. To the denier, to the atheist or agnostic, I say, we are discussing different subjects. I have no more responsibility to prove God’s existence than the denier is responsible for proving God does not exist. I am not trying to prove there is a God. I accept God. My goal in the new year is to be awake to God’s presence.
Thus, what does it mean to be fully alive to God’s holy presence? As I say above, God is active. Seeing God can be accidental. A profound event, amazing beauty, or touching kindness can remind my soul of God’s presence. These occasions of accidental God sightings are not reliable. They are intense, but we do not know when they will show up. Consider a sunset. On the one hand, some sunsets are breathtaking. They are so beautiful that they remind us of God. In that moment, when the sun disappears from view, the world seems still and right, and God’s goodness fills time. On the other hand, there is a sunset every day. Some can appear normal, or even banal or mundane. “Ah! Another sunset means another day is done!”
To this latter experience of the normal course of events, I turn. My prayer, “Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence,” is a plea. God, who is active, participate in my activity. God, who is alive, make me alive to your presence. It is also a plan. I want to be aware of God. I do not need an accidental sighting. I can look for God, be open to God’s movement, and see God even in the banal moments of everyday life.