Barefoot on Holy Ground – A Lesson from the Torah

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(Excerpt from: “Walking barefoot: Jewish lessons in leadership” by Rabbi Joel Seltzer / Jewish World blogger     | Jan. 6, 2013.)

 

“This whole barefoot theory is nothing new. No, quite to the contrary. In this past week’s Torah portion we read of the first time someone was advised to remove their shoes in order to be in touch with the ground more completely; the person who took off their shoes was Moses, and the advice-giver was God.

In this past week’s parasha, Parashat Shemot, Moses encounters the Presence of God for the first, but certainly not the last, time. While he is tending to his father-in-law’s flock, he stumbles upon Mt. Horev, and there Moses sees the miraculous vision of the burning bush. It is during this moment of theophany when God asks what may seem like an unusual request:

God says: “Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)

The commentators are puzzled by this request. Why does God ask Moses to remove his shoes? Is it because there was a line in the sand? Is it because our shoes are naturally dirty and therefore unfit to be in the presence of God?

One possible answer comes from the Hasidic Rebbe, the “Ollalot Ephraim.” He writes:

         ‘The world beneath our feet is always filled with small stones and debris. When we wear shoes, we easily walk upon all sorts of small things which stand in our way; in fact we barely notice them. But, when we walk barefoot, we feel every single stone and pebble, every kotz vedardar, every thorn and every thistle, every last rock hurts us. And this then is the hinted meaning of the text: To Moses, the preeminent leader of the people Israel, God said: “Shal na’alekha” “take off your shoes,” meaning, the leader of each and every generation needs to be aware of every barrier, every experience of suffering that is placed upon the way. A leader must feel the pain of the people, and must be sensitive to their every suffering.’

This is the meaning of true leadership; understanding the power that comes when we walk barefoot through our lives. When, instead of ignoring the pain and suffering of others that abounds, we make ourselves vulnerable to it. When, instead of choosing a life of padding and cushion, we understand that we were meant to feel every rock and every pebble, every thorn and every thistle of the ground beneath our feet.”

 

For the full article, refer to:

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rabbis-round-table/walking-barefoot-jewish-lessons-in-leadership.premium-1.492180

 

Photo Source: http://africaisnear.blogspot.com/2009/04/take-off-your-shoes.html

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“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Lyrics sung by Taya Smith & Matt Crocker, Hillsong UNITED

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VERSE

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep my faith will stand

 

CHORUS

I will call upon Your Name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

 

VERSE

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

 

BRIDGE

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

 

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Saviour

 

FINAL CHORUS

I will call upon Your Name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

 

Lyrics written by Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Salomon Lighthelm.

Read more: Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WK67KWNX

 

Photo Source: 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=feet+walking+on+water+images&espv=2&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=yVA8U-r7MseSyQGaj4CYCw&ved=0CDMQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=607

A Green Shoe and A Red Shoe

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This past November, I traveled with friends through the mountainous areas of southeastern Ethiopia. While in an open air restaurant, we feasted on chickpea ‘wat’ and ‘injera’ bread. But it was the waiter’s footwear that captivated me. I couldn’t take my eyes off his delightful green and red shoe combination.

That day we delivered over 1000 free books to remote schools in the Imagine1Day network. (www.imagine1day.org). The book (“Loss of Innocence” by Yosef Ayalew) is an illustrated script of teenage characters encountering and problem-solving the intentional spread of HIV/AIDS. Schools and community groups throughout Ethiopia now have this book in hand.  Many plan to act it out.

But that day, my eyes were fixed on a red shoe and a green shoe.

Throughout 2014, you will see photos of feet in Ethiopia interspersed in the different weekly themes on this blog www.followingfeet.com.  As I explore and lay out the symbolism of messages that feet deliver, I will be asking God for deeper revelation and guidance. How do the spiritual messages pair up with the physical? Can the unconcious symbolism of feet teach us to walk more consciously with God?  

For now, a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you. Teresa Sandhu

Our God, Our Dance Partner

First, let this description help you imagine that God dances:

“The theologians in the early church tried to describe this wonderful reality that we call Trinity. If any of you have ever been to a Greek wedding, you may have seen their distinctive way of dancing . . . It’s called perichoresis.

There are not two dancers, but at least three. They start to go in circles, weaving in and out in this very beautiful pattern of motion. They start to go faster and faster and faster, all the while staying in perfect rhythm and in sync with each other.

Eventually, they are dancing so quickly (yet so effortlessly) that as you look at them, it just becomes a blur. Their individual identities are part of a larger dance.

The early church fathers and mothers looked at that dance (perichoresis) and said, “That’s what the Trinity is like.” It’s a harmonious set of relationship in which there is mutual giving and receiving. This relationship is called love, and it’s what the Trinity is all about.

The perichoresis is the dance of love.”      (by Jonathan Marlowe)

http://musicanddancing.wordpress.com/perichoresis/

 

 Then, consider that God wants you to join in the dance:

“From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son and Spirit in a rich and glorious and abounding fellowship of utter oneness. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or insecurity. 

The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight.  This life is good.  It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace.

Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it. The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others.”    (by C. Baxter Kruger)

 http://baxterkruger.blogspot.ca/2012/09/summary-of-trinitarian-vision.html

 

Feet starting to tap? 

       There is more, much more to understand and to ask for.

               And, God’s dance card has your name on it….

 Check out:

              C. Baxter Kruger, author –

                     “The Parable of the Dancing God”

                      “The Great Dance”

 Get ready for heavenly choreography!