Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:5 (English Standard Version)
Shortly after, Paul took up the cry of liberty and declared all meats clean, every day holy, all places sacred and every act acceptable to God. The sacredness of times and places, a half-light necessary to the education of the race, passed away before the full sun of spiritual worship.
From A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God (Emphasis mine)
To my fathers and father-figures out there, I hope you had a good Father’s Day.
As you’ve read in past installments of “Running Thoughts” you’ve seen me refer to the book, Born To Run. It was on this book I learned about barefoot running. Now for the uninitiated out there (like me), barefoot running is what what it says it is-running barefoot. If you go on the Internet and search the topic, “barefoot running”, “barefoot walking”, 0r “barefoot living” you’ll have tons of info to peruse.
I’ve started doing some barefoot walking-both on the trail and on the street. It’s quite the sensation feeling the Earth under your feet. The soles of the feet are very sensitive; the nerves picking up tons of information. I also go barefoot at home whenever I can. Podiatrists bemoan how our modern shoes isolate our feet from the ground, and are doing our feet more harm than good. I’m starting to believe these specialists have a point as I find my feet (and lower extremities) feel better when I’m unshod.
In light of our Scripture passage we see Moses having an encounter with God at the “burning bush” on Mt. Horeb. It was at this place God advised Moses to remove his shoes since he was standing on holy ground. “Now”, you may ask, “why would God need Moses to take off his shoes? Would it really matter if Moses was shod or not?” I believe that Moses’ shoes represented the pretense of status (most folk barefooted it back then), the “security” of man-made protection, and being disconnected from the energy emanating from the Earth-in this case, God’s Energy. Moses had to “expose” a very needed and vulnerable part of himself, as well as become humble before the presence of the Divine. After which, Moses was able to connect with God.
When I walk barefoot, I too take off the pretenses, my “security” of being shod, and become vulnerable by being barefoot. Yet, it’s in this place that I come into contact with that which is sacred-the Earth beneath me. I draw the energy from the Earth, which has been made sacred (reference to Tozer). I also feel more connected, alive, and have a greater awareness of my environment/surroundings-what I think God wanted for Moses at Mt. Horeb.
To engage the sacred about us, we need to kick off the “shoes” of pretense, false security, social status, and become barefoot and vulnerable to our environment. A whole new world can open up for us. This is true whether encountering God where He/She meets us; or when running/walking.
I haven’t tried to trail run yet in my bare feet. I’m still working on barefoot hiking. However when I can run/trail run in my bare feet, I’ll let you know!
In the meantime, kick off those shoes every now and then and try barefootin’ it for a while. You might just be pleasantly surprised! Peace!