That You Love One Another (John 13:34)

Take Off Your Shoes
by Adwoa Lewis-Wilson

Take off your shoes,
In fact, remove all your coverings –
The cloak of achievement, adornments of knowledge,
              Every false veil of ‘self’.
For the place you stand is holy ground.
Here is where I will burn away all that is not real.
Here is where you remain aflame with my Spirit’s fire.

Take off your shoes,
Yes, all your coverings.
For here you have found the baptismal fount.
You may not enter this sanctuary other than naked,
Then will I wash you and you will find your part with me.
Then clean and pure, will you abide as a beacon of my Light.

Like the bush you will not be consumed.
For this soul of yours is holy ground.
And see? You will not, naked, drown.
For by my presence, from your very soul
Has flowed springs of living water.
Bare yourself and come near.
In your soul you will find me:
                 A fire’s power,
                 A cleansing stream.
                 A perfect refuge,
                 An endless union,
                 A boundless bliss,
Unknowable Revelation, Unshakable Peace.
Here I wait, for you to arrive,
But first you must take off your shoes.

Image at the top: Head of Christ, by Georges Rouault, 1937, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art: © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; Footwashing image origin unknown, collected with images from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

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