When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
This week I was reading something on ways to be self-compassionate during the pandemic (If you want to check out the link https://centerformsc.org/10-self-compassion-practices-for-covid-19/). And while there were several helpful ideas for people to note, one in particular jumped out at me. It spoke about how, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you should anchor your awareness to the sensations of the soles of your feet as they are rooted to the earth. The idea is to help ground ourselves.
The image that quickly came to me was the scripture text from Exodus, encouraging Moses to take off his shoes, for he was standing on holy ground.
There are many times when I am tempted to do this – to take off my shoes and feel the ground beneath me. Sometimes I want to play with my toes in the sand, or to feel the water lapping on my feet. Those are the time I am feeling playful or in need of relaxation. Sometimes I want to take off my shoes to steady myself and feel the solid ground beneath me. In worship I often think I would like to take off my shoes, to stand firmly in God’s word and honour the role I have of standing with you on holy ground. More recently I have thought I would like to walk barefoot through fertile soil in an appreciation of what might grow there.
In the last month, standing on holy ground has meant noticing the beauty of creation. More and more I find myself taking the time to see the colours, the growth, the creatures with whom I share my space. This ground is holy because God has created it. I celebrate it as holy when I honour the earth and recognize God’s presence that surrounds me.
I cannot help but think that the invitation towards self-compassion can have a great deal to do with faith – it is about letting the soles of our feet connect with God’s holy ground, and knowing that we can dig ourselves deeply into God’s love.
When and where do you need to take off your shoes and recognize the ground you stand upon is holy?
God, may I feel your presence throughout my body as you move and work in me. Help me to take off my shoes, quite literally, and feel the ground with the soles of my feet and your holy ground with the soul of my heart. Help me to root myself in you, O Holy One. Amen.
To Listen and Sing
This is an old camp song that I cannot get out of my head. It’s not a great recording, but it is fun and the words are so powerful to read along. Enjoy!