Friday, March 9, 2012

Daily Devotion for Friday, March 9, 2012

Scripture Reading for Today: Acts 7:30-40

Key verse for today: Acts 7:33, "The Lord continued, 'Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.'"

The context for today's scripture in Acts is in the midst of the apostle Stephen's martyrdom speech.  He is reminding his peers of their failures in the time of Moses.  At the end of his exhorting, they don't just throw tomatoes to express their disapproval.

As we are reminded of Moses, the verse that stood out to me was not his judgment as much as his reminder of holiness (see key verse above).  Growing up at church camp, we used to sing a song by Jim Manley (popularized by the Strathdees) entitled "Take Off Your Shoes".  

I remember the chorus going like this:

    So take, take, take off your shoes
    you're standin' on holy ground
    take, take, take off your shoes
    You're standin' on holy ground
    well the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof
    from the waters beneath to the heavens above
    so take, take, take off your shoes
    you're standin' on holy ground.  You're standin' on holy ground.

(I've printed it here because I couldn't find them anywhere online - if you see them, you might put a link in the comments!  I'm sure the copyright is (c) 2011 Jim Manley)

These lyrics are a wonderful expression of recognizing God's holiness within the created order.

As I think about a Christian reference of removing our shoes, I think about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.  This is also an expression of recognizing God's holiness within the created order.  But in this ordinary chore made sacred, Jesus recognizes that holiness in you.

Jesus washing the disciples' feet from
The Passion of the Christ
I think that maybe this is why so many resist the foot washing service.  In it we are so vulnerable and also connected to another person in an intimate way.  It is too much.  I can't allow someone else to do that.  We place Peter's words in our mouth when he said, "You will never wash my feet." (John 13:8)

But our denial is empty because we have already symbolically let others serve us in so many ways.  We may find that when we accept it, we honor the holy ground on which we find ourselves standing.

Recognizing and serving God's holiness in the created order is much of what the Christian community is all about.  You'll see that Stephen understands this at the end of his final homily when he declares, "Lord don't hold this sin against them!" before he dies at their hands.

All of a sudden, my shoes seem a little tight...

Breath prayer for today: Lord, don't hold this sin against them.

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