by Pastor Jim Strelan
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Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground’ (Acts 7:33).
If you were to go to a Muslim mosque, or if you’ve seen photos, there’s something you will notice at the entry to the mosque. You will see rows and rows of sandals and shoes. Before entering the mosque to pray, worshippers take off their shoes and leave them at the entrance. God appears to Moses, and before he gives Moses instructions, he asks him to take off his sandals. Why? Because the place where he is (you are) standing is holy ground. The place where the Lord is present, in this case, is the flames of the burning bush in the desert.
When we gather for worship, one of the first things we do is to have a time of confession. Now there may well be several reasons for that, but one is that we are in the presence of the Almighty God, and it’s right for us to ‘take off our shoes’ in his presence. The shoes that have been to who knows where; the shoes that have picked up dust and dirt; the shoes that we seem to think give us some dignity – we shed them and stand humbly before God.
God is about to recommission Moses for a task and send him out in his authority, and this is the first thing he asks. When God wants to work with us and in us, he asks the same thing of us: let go of everything that might make you think you have all the skills and know-how, the gift of the gab. Let go of that, and stand shoeless before your God. Then he will do what he wants to do, in and through you.
It might be a good thing if we actually did that one Sunday – stood shoeless – just to remind us.
God of us all, I take off my shoes before you and wait on you. Direct me your way. Amen.