Forgetting that taking out the garbage involves holy time and holy ground is a mistake. Maybe sandals have a use . . . but spiritually we need them on less than we think.
Then the Lord said to him, “Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
I have never liked the idea that some ground is more holy than other ground. I appreciate the reminder to notice how holy the ground is, but I am not willing to elevate one ground over another. Nor can I pick out one great time and lift it above another. Or take a Sabbath only on Sundays. Monday can be very holy itself. I like the phrase one of my parishioners uses: remember the future. Now is then. Then is now. I might argue that we should keep our sandals off all the time, in all spaces.
Yesterday we carried two weeks of frozen compost to the local community garden and placed it in the offering plate. The offering plate was a white drum with a handle you can turn. Our egg shells, onion skins, coffee grounds, apple cores, grapefruit peels, squished limes and garlic casings were on their way to resurrection as next year’s Swiss chard. Or red leaf lettuce. Perhaps even a sweet pea will rise from these offerings. Remembering the future is the only way to have a future. You have to build now for later. As the very successful head of Amazon says, over and over, we need to be three steps ahead of our last three steps, which steps will shift each time we take them.
OK, OK, OK. I know we’re supposed to “carpe diem,” seize the day, live in the moment, and all that. Still, the truth of every moment is the way it treated yesterday. It has a past as last year’s compost, a present as this year’s onion, and a future as next year’s chard. Now is later, later is now, and soil needs eternal, not temporal, attention. Forgetting that taking out the garbage involves holy time and holy ground is a mistake. Maybe sandals have a use . . . but spiritually we need them on less than we think.
O God, keep our sandals in our hands and our minds aware of how sacred time and space, here and now, then and later, are. Amen.
—Reflection by Donna Schaper, from StillSpeaking
(This reminds me of something I heard many years ago: “For the Christian, there is no difference between the secular and the sacred; all ground is holy ground, every bush is a burning bush.” Perhaps Bob Jones Sr. wouldn’t have used this in reference to care for the earth or in relation to the past and the future, but the message remains that everything we do, say, are or come across is just as sacred as that ancient burning bush.)