Once upon a Sunday morning, the four of us were scrambling to get out the door to church on time. When I went to the garage, my husband, Ben, was not in the drivers’s seat waiting for me as usual. I told the kids to get into the car because I would be driving us to church. Just as I was backing out of the garage, Ben came blasting out of the house.
When we stopped in the church parking lot, the kids noticed their dad was only wearing his black socks. He looked down at his feet and said, “Oh well, I just won’t wear any shoes into church today.” Mortified, I pointed out the obvious, “But you’re not Moses there is no burning bush around.” But he insisted no one would notice and we should just be casual about the whole thing.
One happy ending would be that the pastor’s sermon was about Moses and that he had us all take our shoes off as a sermon illustration. It wasn’t. I am not sure what sermon the rest of the congregation heard that day, because I was distracted by my husband’s feet. Was he being too casual, even irreverent by not wearing his shoes to church? Or were the kids and I being disobedient and irreverent for not taking off our shoes in the church. Where exactly is holy ground?
In his lifetime, Moses stubbed his toes a few time but he learned what it meant to stand on holy ground…to lead a life of reverence before the God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In her book, An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor writes: “Reverence requires a certain pace. It requires a willingness to take detours, even side trips, which are not part of the original plan.”
My original plan included a normal Sunday morning…all of us on time and fully clothed for church. But on our detour I found myself on holy ground, in awe of God.
May you and I keep the pace required to live in awe of the One who invites us to take off our shoes moment by moment…like Moses!
Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?” God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He said, “Yes? I’m right here!” God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:3-6 MSG)