Friends, Flatmates, Funny embarrassing stories

Wow! A lot has happened over the weekend. I am enjoying England more each day, and feeling as if I am belonging more and more. I was worried there for while, but God is good and answered my requests almost immediately. He has provided in every way and let things run smoothly for my transition here so far; I need to continue to trust Him to provide a part time job now. I have been busily handing in CVs everywhere I go. I am out of luck to continue my employment at Starbucks in the UK, so I might have to jump ship and join another coffee shop.

Well, Friday I finally visited Leeds City Art Gallery. Looking for the gallery led to a lot of other “adventures” when I couldn’t find it the first couple days. I took an open ballet class at Northern Ballet Theatre, which just made me miss my ballerina days more, but it was good, oh so good to be back in class! I also applied for an internship there in marketing, but we’ll see about that later…

Met some great new girl friends at the International students night – and we all went (guess what??) shopping all day Saturday. They are from Australia, Canada, Belgium, and Germany. All my flatmates are back for the semester, and I am especially happy to have Rachel and Cat back. I love my flatmates! Cat and Rachel and I get along well and can talk girl stuff and watch chick flicks together; Jack and Udo and Rich are always up to something – tonight it was playing the Irish flute…ok. Next they’re going to have an entire band in our kitchen! I’m thankful to have them to walk to the grocery store with or help eat all the cookies I make.

I visited another church Sunday and I think it will be a good fit. I had been asking the Lord for Christian fellowship, and some trustworthy friends in Leeds, and He definitely supplied those needs quickly! I was so impressed with the young people’s passion for sharing Jesus’ love with children in Leeds and reaching the younger generations that I volunteered to get involved in their ministry, Kidz Klub, targeting unchurched children in Leeds. I thought, why not commit to serving the people here in Leeds for the time that I am in the city, even if it is only 6 months.

Oh, one funny thing that happened to me? Well, funny for some unsuspecting early riser this past drizzly Sunday morning. On the way back from my run I decided to break out dancing down our street to 500 Days of Summer soundtrack on my ipod. I had checked to make sure no one was in the vicinity, I thought… I stopped my leaping and twirling when I noticed a parked car’s windshield wipers going back and forth. I don’t dance in front of people unless I’m on stage. Well, that car driver got their own private performance. I ran by the car as fast as I could!

I have been so busy exploring Leeds and meeting people that I almost forgot why I am here: school. My first classes are tomorrow. I’m sure it’s nothing I can’t handle. Wish me well! Or better, send your prayers.

Significance of Shoes, Sanctity of Feet

Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses

Why did God ask Moses to take off his shoes on Mount Horeb (Gen.3:2-5)? God told Moses, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” There must be a reason God told him to take His shoes off; He is a holy God requiring respect, yet all He wants from His fallen creation is our love, attention and adoration.

The reason the mountain was holy was because it was a place of worship. God required Moses to take his shoes off before he spoke to him. I can assume it was a sign of respect, or to remind Moses to humble himself before the almighty God. But God did not tell Moses to kneel or prostrate himself as was most biblical person’s response to an angel or messenger of God. It must have something to do with feet. It could be as simple as feet are dusty and dirty (at the time people wore sandals), therefore representative of our sin and separation from God, but I think there must be something more to it. I can thank my Dad for bringing up this question. We both like to find hidden meanings.

My feet are very important to me as a dancer. When I spent hours a day in my pointe shoes, my feet needed a lot of care and attention off the clock to keep me going. It is easy to forget how long it took my toes to build up calluses in the place of blisters where my shoes rubbed when I danced. In classical dance, as in ballet or character, the dancer wears special shoes. In modern or contemporary dance, shoes are optional. I like to think of people in the Bible like Miriam and David who danced to worship the Lord dancing barefoot. Surely they took off their shoes to worship and praise the Lord.

My dad told me of a man he played with in a worship band who would take off his shoes when he stood to play guitar. I love this picture: it almost seems disrespectful in a church or a place of worship in our culture today, as if he was just trying to be more comfortable. But to that man he had a specific reason for taking his bare feet. When my Dad asked him why he did that, he felt he could connect to God better with his shoes off. Take away all the legalistic, religious reasons that could be applied to this scenario, and you see a man in his most honest, humble humanity, focusing on one thing in that moment: worshipping his God.

Thinking more about shoes and their function for us separating us from the ground, or nature, I wonder if this separation means more than man’s protection from nature’s harshness. Our shoes, like our clothing, cover our bodies. Recall in the Garden of Eden, God created man and woman with no clothing, and they were not ashamed. It was when sin entered the world through both Adam and Eve’s sin that they were ashamed of their nakedness and tried to cover their bodies. Once they were separated from God, He provided coverings made of animal skins for them (this was also when they were told they could eat animals). So clothing is godly, because he ordained it for us in the case of sin pervading our world, but clothing is for our protection from the world and each other. God knows everything about us; we can’t hide the feelings in our hearts or the thoughts in our minds from Him. It makes sense now that this man took off his shoes a physical sign of placing himself back in God’s care and protection. It is an act of reverence and gratefulness to the Lord, and a sign of our understanding that though our sin required we wear clothing (and shoes), we are naked and pure before God again because of his gift to us in His Son Jesus.