A Call To The Curious Barefoot Life

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~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.

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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,

Kicking.

Childhood Passover pilgrimage,

Into cold waters of Jordan,

Obeying.

The pinnacle of the temple,

Temptation to step,

Overcoming.

Fragrance fills the air,

Awash with tears,

Receiving.

Storm shakes the night,

Boat rocks as water holds,

Walking.

Dove feathers fly,

As tables overturn,

Stamping.

Fastened by nails to Cedar,

Splintered agony to death,

Loving.

Resurrected beach strolls,

With grains of sand known,

Living.

 

 

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!

Michelle xo
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 

The Feet of Jesus

Hi all,

A quick catch up and another poem by me!

We saw Nanny Sue, Dion and Charl leave us last week after a wonderful few weeks together then this week saw the arrival of Jo and the boys.

We decided to take them for an evening stroll on Mission Creek on their first night. Josiah was excited to spot a Momma bear and cub up the tree.

EEK!

IMG_2236Have you heard this song by Paula and Hannah McClure ‘Jesus we love You’? My theme…

‘Our affection, our devotion poured out on the feet of Jesus’

I love to reflect on life as pilgrimage. We understand that a pilgrim is ‘a foreigner or wayfarer’ 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.

Enjoy my thoughts of the feet of the One who touched the earth with destination in mind and purpose in His heart.

The Feet of Jesus.

The womb of the chosen mom,

Trough hay in newborn toes,

Kicking.

Childhood Passover pilgrimage,

Into cold waters of Jordan,

Obeying.

The pinnacle of the temple,

Temptation to step,

Overcoming.

Fragrance fills the air,

Awash with tears,

Receiving.

Storm shakes the night,

Boat rocks as water holds,

Walking.

Dove feathers fly,

As tables overturn,

Stamping.

Fastened by nails to Cedar,

Splintered agony to death,

Loving.

Resurrected beach strolls,

With grains of sand known,

Living.

Thanks for reading!

Love, Michelle x

The Worcestershire Way.

IMG_4021This week Phil and I walked the Worcestershire Way – from Bewdley to Malvern.  The first day should have been 16 miles but we did an accidental extra 4 and 15 the next.

A pilgrimage – date – retreat – marathon all in one – the delight of walking with the one you love. Creating a bubble in time, cutting through the busy, creating a thin place to reach heaven.

To spring clean the soul takes intention. 

Hope you enjoy our iPhone pics and a few musings from along the way.

The familiarity of Bewdley and the River Severn sent us on our way. The weather forecast was unusually spot on as the morning rain pelted on us as we made our way along the ‘coffins way’ to St. Anne’s church. We visited the church and dedicated ourselves, family, community and our walk to God.

The Way led us through farms and fields for miles as we left the pounding machine of life to a new rhythm, a rhythm of peace. Paths that told an ancient story.  Stories I remembered from my childhood ringing loud as the fields I walked were the fields Great Uncle Cyril had worked, ploughed and dug deep… in (only) his boots and hat.

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Onto the ancient woodlands of Oak and Ash, steep walks and the Abberley ridge. We were encouraged to trust the Way. It is easy to feel unsure how far you’ve gone at times and wonder whether you have missed a turning along the tunnel of trees, but we trust.

IMG_5667The woods chattered with delight, some like school children in the playground, others the sound of age as trees creaked at the force of high wind.

We reached the Manor Arms Hotel for lunch, to find they had stopped serving food. After a cup of English breakfast tea, a few olives and some pecans we were on way towards the Woodbury Quarry. Rolling wooded hills that held majesty and mysteries with views to the Welsh Mountains beyond.

At the top of the steep slope of Wasgrove Hill a strategic bench offered us a place to sit and enjoy the view.

IMG_5728Where sunlight brushed the landscape and changed the canvas of creation.

Where we recognised the change of our inner landscape, realizing the new that must come this spring, seeing the future and what must change.

Woodbury Quarry to Kingswood Common was our next leg, it was here we found ourselves in the shadow of an Iron Age fort, the markers had disappeared and I sank ankle deep in mud. A few miles of confusion led us back the right path as we walked through the blue hour alongside the River Teme.

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Onto our hotel for the evening, the Admiral Rodney, where an open fire and the jumboist, fishiest, jumbo fish ‘n’ chips and the familiar Martley accent welcomed us.

IMG_5661And in what seemed like the blink of an eye…

‘Would you like a Full English breakfast this morning travellers’? asked the landlady.

‘Naturally’ we replied. We were the last guests of the landlady of the pub as she was moving onto a new life.

Our first leg of the day took us to Knightwick. The fields and openness of our first day changed as we walked trails and coppices. Focus flowed as the steps grew.

Ankerdine hill and the River Teme led us through. The walk took on different processes as we dreamed, prayed and mind-surfed. Our next leg was Knightwick to Longley Green, passing through one of the most varied landscapes in Worcestershire. We enjoyed the closeness of lambs cheering us on as we walked. The rustle of the undergrowth following our steps. Bumblebees revving like Harley’s around our ears.

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Our destination slowly drew us and grew larger each step.

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A short detour through a pheasant filled forest led us on the track towards Longley Green, here the Nelson Arms and its new owners offered us lunch and the recommended pint of Worcestershire Way.

The next leg took us through orchards to Cowleigh Park. The Beauchamp fountain greeted us, as the fountain’s spring still flows from the pale turquoise tiles. It was here our path started to climb towards the Malverns.

We are now 29 miles in and the climb began – starting with 109 slightly torturous steps nestled between two cottages.

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Then… the ascent to the highest point of the Malvern Hills.

IMG_5722The hills we had aimed for, we now stood on. Blue skies and sunshine helped us see where we had come from, the Severn plain with its vast patchwork, the Vale of Evesham, the vales of the Cotswold’s and the Lickey Hills.

We completed the walk – happy that we still like each other even when the Way is boring, when we find ourselves lost in shadows and even stuck in mud. Happy that we find vision, clarity and purpose together. We ended with a great sense of achievement, and lighter, as we had cast off cares that had weighed us down, hindered us.

And as we walked – the season changed, and we declared it so.

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Happy Spring friends.

Love, Phil & Michelle.

‘See! The winter is past; 
the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth;
 the season of singing has come,
 the cooing of doves
is heard in our land. The fig tree forms it’s early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
 Arise, come, my darling;
 my beautiful one, come with me.’ Song of Solomon 2:11.