So, one Easter, after their over-produced Sunday services in the church where they were working, they made a trip down to another body of believers, where Shane Claiborne was speaking for the evening.
Do you know about this guy? The best way to get to know him is through his book Irresistible Revolution. But, beware, this guy will change your life. He will challenge what you thought you knew or understood about serving in God's kingdom, about being the hands and feet of Jesus. When I first read this book the summer of 2007, wow...God changed me. It was then when I knew what God was calling me too, to teach in the inner city. Not just teach, but live there, become one of the members of the community. Live and breathe and be with those I was serving. So, if you decide to read Shane's work, just, beware.
Anyway, Shane was speaking and God was moving and he challenged them to leave their shoes and socks on the altar, as he was taking them to give to the homeless in the community the next day. Jen and her husband just looked at each other and laughed because they were wearing their most expensive shoes, the ones they had given to each other for Christmas...that most favorite gift.
It was in that moment that they had to make a choice. Are we in this or not? So they took off their shoes and socks and left the church barefoot. And then God spoke and blew Jen away. She says,
"I'll not do the moment justice, but at the close of the service, I watched all these smiling people gladly walk barefooted out into the cold, and I heard Jesus whisper, 'This is how I want my church to look. I want her to rip the shoes off her feet for the suffering every single chance she gets. I want an altar full of socks and shoes right next to the Communion table. I want to see solidarity with the poor. I want true community rallied around My gospel. I want you and Brandon to figure out what it means to be a barefooted church.'"
I love that. The barefooted church.
Part of why I just love that so much is because of what I see everyday here in my little village in Ghana. Our kids HATE wearing shoes. They wake up at 5:30 in the morning and their feet hit our red, African soil. They run and play all day, their soles hardened by the hours spent playing outside.
I look at them and I see this...the barefooted church. Our littles freed from a life of child labor. Free to play. To love. To laugh. To live. THEY are the barefooted church.
And I think of the many in our community who have scrimped and saved for one good pair of shoes, because without them, they can't go to school. So, they play barefooted simply to save their shoes for something better.
And when we are able to put shoes on these, the ones who have worked to hard to care for the needs of their kids, we have to celebrate. Because we are the church.
In what ways do you see your church body or YOU sharing with the least of these, as the barefooted church? This kind of service comes at a price. What are you willing to give up to serve the least of these?