A Brief Word About Shoes

I’m really sick of hearing about shoes in the news lately.  But, surprisingly, I think it’s time for a brief word about shoes— from a Biblical perspective.

man reading a book
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The Bible has a lot more to say about shoes than most of us realize.  Way back in Exodus, when God called Moses from the burning bush, He commanded Moses to take off his shoes.  Later, in Deuteronomy, the Israelites are reminded that during their years of wandering, their shoes did not wear out– God took care of even the smallest and lowliest of details in providing for their needs in the wilderness.

fashion footwear grass outdoors
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Boaz secured the right to marry Ruth through an old ritual involving an exchange of sandals.  The prophets used shoes to indicate the coming exile, and the need for people to be prepared to leave their homeland.

 

 

apples colors fashion field
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In the New Testament, John the Baptist declares Jesus’ superiority by saying that he (John) is not worthy to latch Jesus’ shoes!  And the Apostle Paul includes shoes (or sandals or boots) in his list of spiritual armor, asking us to wear on our feet the readiness of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).  A Christian’s shoes are to be used to bring good news and peace– not anger, protests, and divisiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

brand trademark cobblestones community denim pants
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Shoes are meant to serve a useful purpose.  They protect our feet from surfaces that are hot, cold, wet, dusty, or rough.  They provide traction, allowing us to start and stop moving on pavement, gravel, rocks, and flooring.  Some shoes even provide arch support so we may stand and walk for hours with minimum damage to our bones and nerves.  Shoes allow us to walk farther, run faster and with more confidence, and stand firm.

man person street shoes
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The most ridiculous thing about all the fighting over a shoe’s ad campaign is that it’s not about the SHOE–and no one is entirely clear on what it IS about– is it about race, police, injustice, patriotism, lack of patriotism, residual guilt over slavery, respect (or lack of respect) for military and/or rescue personnel, the NFL, Black Pride, White Privilege, income inequality, all of the above, something entirely different?  Mostly, it seems to be about anger, hurt feelings, hatred, and generic outrage.

None of that seems like a shoe I want to wear.

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Lord, from my head to my toes, I want to bring peace, hope, and love to this world in YOUR NAME.  Help me not to be blinded or distracted by all the world’s empty substitutes.  Let me wear the shoes that make my feet ready to bring your gospel of peace and reconciliation to others.  May I walk and run and climb and stand in Christ’s name and for His sake.  Amen.

 

Making Waves

Yesterday, students across the nation walked out of class to protest the school shooting that took place a month ago in Florida.  Many have hailed this as the beginning of a new movement; others have decried it as a stunt.  I’m not here to debate the merits of this particular action or even what it may or may not represent.  What I do want to look at is how and why groups are using various methods to “make waves” in our world.

What does it mean to “make waves?”  According to the online urbandictionary.com, it means:  to cause a disturbance, or to create a situation where chaos or controversy will surface

The underlying assumption is that there is a deceptively calm surface that requires a disturbance– that chaos or controversy are already present, and bringing them to the surface is necessary to prevent more tragic results.

If you live near a large lake or the ocean, you may have watched waves in action.  Waves can be powerful, and even tragic, in their own right.  Storm surge waves and tidal waves have been known to decimate coastal areas; even normal wave action can erode shorelines and pull unwary swimmers under the surface.  But waves also serve good purposes– they polish the stones and wash up treasures onto the beaches.  They prevent stagnation.  They help move small creatures that dwell in the sand and shallow waters.

One thing about waves that sometimes passes unnoticed– waves may change in size or power, but they are constant– rolling in and out unvaried in their rhythm from day to day and year to year.  In this sense, no one “makes” waves, except the creator, who started that rhythm and set the boundaries for the lakes and seas.  Instead, we attempt to create bigger, more powerful waves, or make waves where none were before– puddles, or swimming pools, perhaps.  At some point in our lives, we WILL make waves– but what kind, and to what purpose?

waves

My point is not that we shouldn’t try to be agents of needed change in our world– but we should examine the positive and negative consequences of our wave-making.  Are we pushing something to the surface that needs to be seen or discovered?  Are we pulling something under the surface to drown it out?  Are we eroding a foundation, or carving out a new coastline?  Also, are we being consistent in our wave-making?  Are we hoping for a single tidal wave of chaos, or a constant churning action that brings lasting change.

Of course, since this blog is about prayer, I would suggest that prayers are also like waves– each one breaking in its turn, but constantly rolling, churning, and moving forward, bringing things, both large and small, to the shore.  Prayers have a constant rhythm and a subtle roar that masks their full impact.  Prayers, like rolling waters,  intermingle, push each other forward, dance, and rise, and fall with the winds and storms of life, and roll back to rise up again.
Not all prayers are like waves– not all waves are like prayer.  but  shouldn’t we want to make waves in tune with God’s purposes?  Waves answer to God– he can both calm them, and stir them into wild fury; walk on them, or hold them back.

I pray that our prayers and our actions would be consistent with God’s rhythm; that we would embrace changes and actions that bring him honor.

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