“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
It’s not often that I wear slip-on shoes to church (they don’t provide enough support—but that’s a story for another post), but whenever I do, I find myself tempted to slip them off during worship—and sometimes I give in to the temptation. This practice hearkens back to a message I once heard in the company of a group of high school kids on a church retreat. The worship leader had everyone take their socks and shoes off upon entering the room. Why? He said it was because we were, just as Moses was so long ago, standing on holy ground.
That made sense, although it was a fresh revelation for everyone in the room. And besides that, I think a number of us were a bit uncomfortable with the idea. It occurs to me now that the reason for this sense of awkwardness may have been the built-in sense of humility. Unless you’re a foot model, you can probably identify some source of dissatisfaction associated with your feet: too small; too fat; high arches; flat feet; bunions, blisters, warts; and the list goes on. Feet are by and large dirty, deformed, afflicted, misshapen—in a word, ugly.
I, personally, think that this sense of humility goes all the way back to the Bible days, and not just to Moses’ encounter with God’s holy presence (Exodus 3:5). Think about Jesus’ act of servant leadership in the washing of the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). They were mortified at the thought. And they were humbled by Christ’s act of humility.
In spite of all of this, I also think of Isaiah 52:7, which says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Implied in this promise, I believe, is the humble spirit in which we are to bring the Good News—not of ourselves or for our own glory; but on behalf of the one whose Spirit we possess. And when we do, God does something amazing. He makes the ugly beautiful. So here’s to you—may you go forward on beautiful feet!