Our preacher got literal and playful with the Ephesians passage we considered in worship Sunday morning, chapter 6, verses 10-20, specifically verse 15: “As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.” What kind of shoes? Whatever kind is needed, the writer of the letter said.
Pastor Mary Anderson invited us to consider what shoes we need to wear to proclaim the gospel of peace. She suggested work boots, and that was my first thought, too. Workboots for renovating or building houses for lower income folks. (A hilarious image of Helen Mirren in the movie RED—Retired, Extremely Dangerous CIA agents—appeared in my mind. She’s wearing an elegant white evening gown with combat boots and firing away with a submachine gun to foil wicked political assasination plots.) And now, I think of hip boots or galoshes worn for flood relief following relentless rains, hurricanes, or tsunamis as church folk and others have rescued people and animals in horrific situations from South Dakota to Indonesia.
“How about flip-flops?” Pastor half-joked. Sure. I have no doubt that flip-flop wearing believers render courageous acts of mercy everyday for the cause of peace in the name of Christ. I also remember a retreat with early morning worship on the beach, most of us wearing flip-flops, and the wondrous divine peace of the ocean waves and the sunrise grounding us in a fresh commitment to serve.
And how about dancing shoes? A motley crew of us are learning German-style polka moves to entertain at our upcoming Oktoberfest. This festival is developing into a major project at Incarnation, gathering significant funds for community ministries and affording great fun as we work shoulder to shoulder to proclaim the gospel of peace through this event. So maybe dancing shoes. I wonder if Jesus danced the Hora, laughing and whirling to the tune of Hava Nagila, celebrating God’s love and grace and peace with sisters and brothers in the faith. I wonder if they ever kicked their sandals off so they could go faster and faster.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace…” ~Isaiah 52:7a