DID THEY REMEMBER TO TAKE OFF THEIR SHOES?

Posted on January 21, 2010

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In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, a spiritually poignant moment occurred when Moses

“came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ Then he said, ‘Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ ” (Exodus 3.1-5)

As a Christian, as I prepare to enter the church and face the altar for worship and prayer, a conscious switch in mind, body and soul takes place and I become aware that I am entering the realm of the sacred.

Likewise, for the Muslim as he enters the mosque or surau; and for a Sikh as he enters the gurdwara.

For each of us respectively, the preparation for worship and prayer may take different forms but there is a physical, mental, and/or spiritual ablution involved, a taking off of our shoes, before or as we enter a place of worship. An attitude of awe and reverence is involved.

And in the same attitude in which we had entered the place of prayer and worship, we leave it to face our responsibilities in work, home and society alongside others irrespective of religious, political or cultural differences.

What about those who went to the various places of prayer and worship with fire bombs, stones, plastic bottles and cans of paint in hand? What preparations did they undertake? What ablutions did they make? How long did they stay at the place of prayer and worship?

Did they remember to take off their shoes?

With what attitude had they come? And after throwing the fire bombs, stones, plastic bottles and paint at the places of prayer and worship, how did they resume their responsibilities in their workplace, home and society? Who did they resume to work with and engage with in society?

We go to the grocers and the malls to shop. We report to our office for honest work. We go home to care for and enjoy our family. We are in Malaysia to relate to other Malaysians.

We go to church, gurdwara or mosque to pray and worship.

We teach our children and our children’s children that when they go to church, gurdwara or mosque, it is for the purpose of prayer and worship, carrying with them nothing but respect and reverence for God and their fellow human beings.

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Posted in: Perspective