Lightly Tread

Ahhh!  I slide my sore feet out of the leather shoes—the best moment in my day.  As I revel in the relief, a rhyme flashes through my thoughts, and I laugh.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free.

What?  You don’t think that’s funny?

I suppose, in the poisoned political climate of the last several days and weeks in our once-great country, it might be a private joke I should keep to myself—my daily introduction of my feet to freedom from their leather prisons.

But, as I sit in the old oak office chair and gaze at my stocking feet and the shoes on the floor beside them, I hear other words.

Take off your shoes, Moses.  You’re standing on holy ground. (Exodus 3:5)

I wonder where that came from.

No, I know where it came from originally.  Few of us have not heard the story of Moses and his burning bush at Mount Sinai.  Well, I call it his, but there is no question the bush belonged to God—as did the flame that engulfed it and yet didn’t burn it up.

Still, I don’t know what that ancient story has to do with me—or you—today.  All I did was take off my shoes.

Taking off our shoes doesn’t make the ground holy.  There, in that desolate place, that mountain in the solitary desert, it wasn’t even the bush afire that made the ground holy.  

There was one thing that made that place holy.  One thing.

God was there.

Where God is, the expectation is that we will act in a different manner.  Pride, arrogance, wickedness—all are shed and left behind.

We tread lightly on holy ground.

We tread lightly on holy ground. Click To Tweet

Some friends of mine wrote a song a few years ago that is sung across the world today.  It speaks of the air in our lungs and where it comes from.

It’s Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise.

The realization that we are dependent on our Creator for even the air that we breathe requires that we must offer it back to Him in praise.

How is it any different with the earth we stand upon?  The food we eat?  The clothes on our backs?

I claim to be a follower of Emmanuel.  His Spirit lives in all who believe in Him.

God With Us.

Holy Ground.  Everywhere you can see.  Holy Ground.

It is clear we don’t believe that.  Crystal clear.

We seem more like adherents to the Church of Nancy Sinatra.  

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do.
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

Don’t believe it?  Read a newspaper.  Turn on the television news.  Click on the so-called social media.  I know; it seems more like anti-social media these days.

I could cite example after example of friends and acquaintances—believers, every one—who think nothing of tearing down fellow believers, demeaning and questioning their relationship with God because their understanding of the Word is different.

Ah.  But, let me say this:  

All we have to do is turn our faces away from the ugliness of mankind and look into the face of God.

And, take our shoes off.

It’s His dirt under our feet.


I think I’ll walk barefoot for awhile.

Maybe, you’d like to walk beside me.



Turn your face away from the ugliness of mankind and look into the face of God. Click To Tweet




It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To You only

All the earth will shout
Your praise
Our hearts will cry
These bones will sing
Great are You, Lord
(from Great Are You Lord ~ Ingram/Leonard/Jordan ~ American songwriters)



“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” Cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
(From The New Collossus by Emma Lazurus ~ American poet ~ 1849-1887)




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

One thought on “Lightly Tread

  1. I think I’ll join you in this walk, Paul. When we reflect upon the fact that in God’s presence, we are ever on holy ground, it’s easier to love those around us, even the unlovable, and that’s precisely what Jesus wants us to do.

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