Most people are familiar with the Bible account of Moses approaching the burning bush at Mt. Horeb and God telling him to remove his sandals because “ … the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). Bible commentaries often refer to this command as a request for a recognition of the holiness of God’s presence as well as a custom of respect in that region.
But what struck me recently is that sandals are man-made constructs. Then the implication of what this symbolizes in the story goes far beyond removing a mere piece of attire. We’re talking about removing from our thinking all human or mortal theories of existence regarding medicine and health, psychiatry and emotions, economy and supply, family and relationships, body and age, life and death, religion and superstition, and even how we understand God. Simply stated, “taking off our sandals” can be putting off any belief of a material reality or viewpoint.
The matter-based thoughts that we’ve accepted, either tacitly or overtly, need to be shed as we awaken to the fact that where we stand—where we actually exist and where we have and always will exist—is none other than in the omnipresence of God; in the reality of Spirit; in the realm of infinite Mind; in the kingdom of heaven!
Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear,—this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 428). It is in this divesting that we, moment by moment, gain a firmer grasp of the Allness of God—of reality.
But how do we do this? When referring to Jesus, Mrs. Eddy wrote: “The ‘man of sorrows’ best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good. These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science, which armed him with Love” (Science and Health, p. 52).
Grasping both of these aspects—not just the “nothingness of material life and intelligence” or the “mighty actuality of … God, good”—enables us to grow spiritually, to be healed, and to heal others. And isn’t that the point of studying and practicing Christian Science? Isn’t it about our own and the world’s salvation?
Mrs. Eddy also writes: “Do human hopes deceive? is joy a trembler? Then, weary pilgrim, unloose the latchet of thy sandals; for the place whereon thou standest is sacred. By that, you may know you are parting with a material sense of life and happiness to win the spiritual sense of good. O learn to lose with God! and you find Life eternal: you gain all. To doubt this is implicit treason to divine decree” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 341).
Strong words to be sure! Nevertheless, this conviction is absolutely necessary to gain the freedom from the material concepts—the “sandals”—that would attempt to keep us from being healed and being the healers God has made and is causing us to be.
Just think of what Moses accomplished after he removed his sandals. And now think of what each of us can achieve in our healing practice by doing the same!