The logo created to advertise Telling Encounters, this year’s Disability conference, features the burning bush. This story of Moses turning aside to see a bush that is burning and God telling him to take off his sandals for the ground he is standing on is holy, is also one of the readings for our Eucharist this week.
In the story Moses takes off his sandals because he realises that the ground on which he is standing is holy. Sometimes we may need to take off our sandals in order to realise that the ground on which we stand is holy.
I’m reminded of a sculpture by David Robinson called ‘On Holy Ground’ in which a suited and booted businessman stands on a globe with his feet bare and his shoes in his hands. Shoes are designed for movement and travel. We take our shoes off when we come to rest, to stop, to linger. That is what the businessman in sculpture has done and it is in those moments when our busyness ceases that we may realise that all the ground on which we stand is holy.
Rob Bell writes: “Moses has been tending his sheep in this region for forty years. How many times has he passed by this spot? … Has the ground been holy the whole time and Moses is just becoming aware of it for the first time? Do you and I walk on holy ground all the time, but we are moving so fast and returning so many calls and writing so many emails and having such long lists to get done that we miss it?” (R. Bell, Velvet Elvis, Zondervan, 2005)
So, as we reflect on Telling Encounters this autumn, let us remember the words of the folk singer Woody Guthrie: ‘Every spot on earth I traipse around / Every spot I walk it’s holy ground … Take off, take off your shoes / This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground.’
Revd Jonathan Evens