~Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God.
But only he who sees takes his shoes off;
the rest sit ’round and pluck blackberries~
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
While scrolling my instagram feed of Bella’s mission in Portland and Em, Jess and friends visit in Stourbridge, I came across an insta story which started this musing. My friend Dani (who I babysat for in Portugal and now lives in Texas with her husband) wrote that she’d heard her Mom, Nessa (my friend who lives in Florida and was preaching in Ecuador) preach on the challenge of surrender. Dani sent it to me on Whatsapp and here I am still musing on Nessa’s challenge.
It starts with an inquisitive Moses and God in a blazing but not consumed bush, who asked of Moses, ‘Do not come any closer,…..Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Exodus 3:5
This was significant, as in the Old Testament removing your sandal and giving to another was a symbol of handing over, of giving up rights.
What did Jesus do at the Last Supper? He washed the disciples worn, dusty feet. We know that Peter, responded ‘No, I will not participate in this’ (Because he knew it was a degrading task) But Jesus, apparently committing a faux pas in His upside-down kingdom way responded ‘If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing’ Another symbol of shoes off, humility and surrender to a washing that can only be offered by the One. Not only that, the message of ‘the way down is the way up.’
Of course, we are not in the Old Testament custom of handing over shoes as redemption. It’s about our heart response to God almighty who lives in an everlasting fire and calls us to surrender – a life of serving Him and others.
Let’s journey on through on this barefoot pilgrimage – an older more poetic definition of pilgrim has its root in the Latin ‘through the field’. The ancient image suggests a curious soul who walks beyond known boundaries, crosses fields, touches the earth with a destination in mind and purpose in heart.
My thoughts on the feet of the One who touched the earth with destination in mind and purpose in His heart
Feet of Jesus.
The womb of the chosen mother,
Trough hay in newborn toes,
Childhood Passover pilgrimage,
Into cold waters of Jordan,
The pinnacle of the temple,
Temptation to step,
Fragrance fills the air,
Awash with tears,
Storm shakes the night,
Boat rocks as water holds,
Dove feathers fly,
As tables overturn,
Fastened by nails to Cedar,
Splintered agony to death,
Resurrected beach strolls,
With grains of sand known,
Let’s follow this example of humility and reverence of removal
Of shaking off the dust and dirt and saying yes the holy.
And as we surrender,
God’s presence in us, promises that where we stand, is sacred, holy ground.
You are loved!
PS. These feet belong to my friend Marnie and was taken during our trip to Africa a few years ago – you can read about that here and the countryside pic was taken when Phil and I completed the Worcestershire way a few years ago which you can read about here