In the story of Moses and the burning bush, the “I am who I am” in the burning bush invites Moses to take off his shoes, that he is on holy ground. I don’t think that’s a command, and I don’t think it has to do with the “I am who I am” being worried that Moses’ sandals will pollute him/her/it. It’s an invitation to experience the holy. And I don’t believe Moses or a minister or a pontiff or a priest has to serve as an intermediary for any of us, because we’re all invited to enjoy “holy ground experiences” wherever they may be. We already do it all the time.
Here’s my poetic expression of one of my own holy ground experiences:
4 A.M. Milking
Copyright 1980 by Steven E. Burt
The white-haired lawn lies frozen hard
As I traverse the darkened yard.
My rubber boots begin the sound
Of crunchy echoes bouncing round
Our barnyard with its still, still ground.
Latch and fingers seem to blend–
Like shaking hands with some old friend.
And, worn by time like a butcher’s block,
The wooden bolt now serves as clock
To rouse the peaceful sleeping stock.
I feel like Noah on his ark,
Graining beasts in a sea of dark.
While stanchions clank and cattle stare,
Their hay-sweet breath perfumes the air
To warm me as I labor there.
And then communion in the night
As streams of creamy nectar white
Steam warm and frothy in the pail–
A milking stool my kneeling rail–
Man and beast and holy grail.
Back outside I’m breakfast-bound,
But as I cross the frosted ground
A restless rooster dares to crow.
Must he let the whole world know
About my holy ground below?