One of the things I admire most about Lyla is her understanding of the Word of God, one which is deep and is rich. She retells familiar Bible stories in ways that make me slow down, think, and see things I’d never seen before. In the words of another tall Midwesterner who knows a thing or two about Scandinavians, she “puts the hay down where the goats can get it.” (Garrison Keillor)
Lyla blogs at A Different Story. Do stop by, kick your shoes off, and make yourself at home there. You’ll be glad you did.
|Photo by Lyla Lindquist|
This morning, I left them off briefly and slipped my tender toes into the fleece-lined slippers my son gave me for Christmas. By the time everyone was out the door and I took the stairs down to my office, my feet had grown hot. Sweaty, even.
So I stepped out of the slippers before I hit the floor at the bedside for some alone time with the Father.
The morning chill hit my damp feet, and it felt refreshing. But I had misgivings. Approaching the throne with bare feet trailing behind left me feeling exposed, and not just a little irreverent.
Is it okay, You know, to meet You with my socks and shoes off?I had to ask.
I’ll admit that a part of me wished he would say no, and motion me to the dresser to retrieve them.
He did not.
So I tucked sweaty, naked feet under me and reached for my Bible. Somehow, I knew I would not be reading forward from where I’d left off, but would be flipping back a few books. I needed to see about a fellow who approached without his sandals.
Moses had not set off to find God that morning in the desert. He worked for his father-in-law, looking after sheep. He’d just reached the west side with his flock, down around the foot of Horeb, where it’s fair to say he was minding his own business. Out of the clear blue, a bit of shrubbery burst into flame.
Curiosity drew him closer, for there was fire, but no smoke. A bush was in flames and yet it did not burn.
He stepped toward glow, and tipped back on his heels when the voice of God called to him from within the fire, telling him to slip off his sandals.
The ground where he stood– it was holy ground.
There were reasons, cultural reasons, why removing shoes in the face of holiness was important. It marked a practice of reverence in nearly all Eastern religions, rooted at least in part in not tracking in filth on the soles of dusty footwear.
But whatever the reason, with the sandals gone, Moses stood skin to skin with God: dirty, calloused feet kissing holy ground. Nothing between, not even a strip of leather sole. Nothing to cover his hairy man-toes.
I found myself wriggling my own feet around a little, noticing myself all the more vulnerable there in His bright morning light. And I considered how He bids us enter His presence uncovered,unhidden.How His invitation into blazing holiness is one of unprotected exposure.
And is that how I will practice reverent worship today? Check with me a little later. For now, I’m lacing up my rubber-soled work boots.