June 2, 2023

“…Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5 NIV

When my oldest son was around the age of 4, I came home from work one day and was going to just pop by his door and say hello. I was tired and, honestly, I just wanted to give him some obligatory dadtime for a couple minutes before going to veg in front of the TV for a while. But before I could leave he said, “take your shoes off, daddy…sit down and play.”  Ooof! After recovering from the force of his sweet request hitting me like a toy sledge hammer, I took my shoes off and got down in the floor and we played (with whatever toys he was into at the time) for much more than the couple of minutes I had planned on giving him.  

My son understood a profound theological truth about shoes. When you take your shoes off, that means you’re not going anywhere for a while. It means you’re all there and fully present. My boy had called me out because he knew if my shoes were still on, then I wasn’t planning on staying for very long. And I began to understand that my son’s invitation to sit down with him and play was a holy moment.  

I’m sure there are many layers as to why God told Moses to take off his shoes when Moses approached the burning bush. But I think it’s fair to say that God was also letting Moses know that the encounter Moses was about to have was a holy moment and he didn’t need to plan on going anywhere for a while. He needed to be fully present.  

I wonder how many holy ground moments I have missed with God, or my wife and kids, or with friends because I still had my proverbial shoes on? I do know that, when I have gotten it right, I have never regretted a single moment that I was fully present and shoes off with God or with my family.

God, help us to know we’re in a holy moment. Help us to know when it’s time to take off our shoes, stop our lives, and be fully present with You and the life giving words that you want to speak to us.  Help us to see the holy moments with the people you have put around us. Help us know when to stop what we’re doing, cancel our plans, take our shoes off and just be present.

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