My wife and I bought what is called an Amazon Echo. It’s about the size and shape of a hockey puck. It’s a pretty remarkable little thing. We sit down for dinner, and my wife says, “Alexa, play Adele radio,” and in a few seconds we are awash in music. You can probably tell that I’m not in charge of music.
We can be sitting on the couch and think of a question and ask, “Alexa, how old is Charles Barkley?” And a very cultured voice will tell us that Charles is 55 years old. Guess who is in charge of questions?
Alexa is very handy. We have come to really enjoy having her around, but the other day we began to wonder if Alexa was eavesdropping on us. She must be since she has to respond every time we mention her name. We don’t turn her on and then say her name. She is always on. We can unplug her but then she doesn’t respond to anything.
We decided to talk about speed boats just to see if advertisements for speed boats would show up on our social media accounts. They didn’t, but it doesn’t mean she wasn’t listening. She may be smarter than we think. It has kind of creeped us out.
At any rate, we have realized with Alexa in the room we are never alone. She sits there and is pretty much invisible until we say her name, but as soon as we say her name we realize she has been there all the time… listening. If we are going to have Alexa at all, we have to deal with both parts of having her. If we want her to respond when we call out to her, we have to be okay with her being on all the time.
Alexa and the Amazon Echo is as close to the characteristic we call omnipresence of God as we can get. We love the idea of God being around us so at any time we can call out to him when we need him. But if God is going to be there for us when we cry out to him, it means he is always there. There is nothing he doesn’t hear. There is no time when he is unplugged.
I’ve decided with Alexa that the good outweighs the bad. I’d rather have her when I need her then not have her at all.
I decided the same thing about God a long time ago. I love being able to cry out to him at any time day or night. I need to remember sometimes that means I am never alone. And neither are you.