I love going barefoot. I love feeling the grass, or the sand if I happen to be at the beach. I don't know if it's a leftover from my childhood, or what, but I just really don't like wearing shoes. From the first warm day of March until almost the end of October, if I'm outside and I can, I kick my shoes off.
This summer, my wife got a little upset at me because I wouldn't wear shoes while I was working in the garden. I planted the garden barefoot. I hoed the garden barefoot. I tilled it barefoot. I just love the way it feels, and there's the added bonus of not getting my shoes dirty.
There's another time when I love going barefoot...when I preach. I couldn't get away with kicking my shoes off in most pulpit settings, in fact, I've only had one venue in 12 years where I could preach barefoot and no one minded. For me, it's a holy moment and a holy place, and being barefoot at those times and in those places is scriptural. One of the stories we have has God commanding one of our ancestors to take his shoes off because the ground he was standing on was holy.
For Moses, the moment he was told to kick his shoes off was a huge moment in his life. It was at that moment, standing barefoot in the desert sand, watching a bush on fire but not burning up, that God said to him, "Go." Moses was barefoot when we was commissioned by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. How cool is that?
It's a small thing, really, kicking your shoes off on holy ground; but we take ourselves way too seriously today. We are so afraid of looking silly in front of the people around us, that we won't allow ourselves to kick our shoes off in front of them when we stand on holy ground.
Many times, when I get to come to the table without presiding over it, I'll kick my shoes off before I walk up. It's something I do quietly, and I don't even tell anyone what I'm doing or why. For me, that is a very holy place, and approaching the table barefoot reminds me of that.
So, here's the challenge from what some consider just another smart aleck preacher. The next time you go to church, remember you are on holy ground, and if you want to kick your shoes off in the presence of God, go right ahead.