being · Church of England · Parish · training · vicarage life

You got Sole: A Theology of Shoes

I cleaned my shoes this morning.

That in its self is, of course, not very interesting but as I polished them it occurred to me the event to which I was going had caused me to clean my shoes for the first time since my ordination as Priest back in June.

The occasion this time? The Ordination as Deacon of a colleague from Church.

What is it about going to the Cathedral for a ceremonial knees up that requires my £9.99 ASDA shoes have a buff?

I guess we are all a bit like that in terms of our soles, sorry – souls. How often have you heard someone comment that they would be ‘struck by lightening’ if they enter a Church, or make some other comment about not being ‘good enough’.

Even in the ‘Christian World’ – whatever that is – I think we often feel like that. I know of folk who for very honourable reasons choose to avoid communion at times when they feel far from God. Others who stay away from Church during hard times. Yet the point of Jesus’ death was to enable us to approach him in those very times, when we have mucked up, or feel inadequate.

So as I scrubbed the leathers I realised that too often this is how I approach God and Church. I simply end up giving the soul a quick brush up rather than a good clean, so it looks good for Church. But underneath is still unforgiven and dirty.

All Jesus requires me to come to him and ask forgiveness, not cover up the things I do. Its a simple equation if I ask, humbly and with a right heart, he forgives me. Yet somehow I always come to that last of all, after wasting my time trying to look good – rather than be good.

Jesus didn’t die for me so I could look clean but still be mucky underneath. He died so I could be clean – and I am afraid a quick-polish with the Kiwi doesn’t count.


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