Take Off Your Shoes, You’re Standing on Holy Ground

Along with many others, I’ve written a bit about how being good stewards of the environment is being obedient to God’s commandment to love our neighbours. However, loving creation is also about loving God.

Firstly, if God loves the world and everything that He has made, and we claim to love God, how can it be that we do not love what He also loves? If someone we love entrusts us with something that belongs to him or her, wouldn’t we take great care to protect it at all costs? Shouldn’t we do the same for creation, of which God has entrusted to our care?

Secondly, the Scriptures, in particularly the Psalms (Psalm 148 is a great example), speak of how all creation glorifies and praises God. Therefore, whenever we destroy a part of creation, no matter how small that part may be, we diminish its capacity to worship and glorify God.

These are all reflections from a recent sermon that I heard in church. During the service, we sang this wonderful song by Jim Manley:

Take, take off your shoes,
you’re standing on holy ground;
take, take off your shoes,
you’re standing on holy ground.
Well, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof
from the waters beneath to the heav’ens above,
so take, take, take off your shoes,
you’re standing on my holy ground,
you’re standing on my holy ground.

On the eighth day of creation, well, the Lord looked around
at the power stations, freeways and the junk on the ground,
the factories with their waste-dumps and their chimneys so high,
you couldn’t see the sun for all the smog in the sky.
Well, kids, you really filled the earth and then you subdued it,
but there’s nothing in my book that says you’ve got to pollute it.
Take, take off your shoes…

You’ve heated up my rivers with industrial mills,
you’re killing off my oceans with your wastes and your spills,
you’re fishing like there’ll always be an endless supply,
and fighting one another for what’s left to divide.
You didn’t want advice when I first gave you dominion,
but maybe now it’s time to get a second opinion.
Take, take off your shoes…

Your scientific minds – make sure you use them with care:
you’re breaking down my ozone layer up in the air,
your fertilizer’s turning mighty rivers bright green.
some folks are getting fatter while so many grow lean.
I told you to be fruitful and you sure multiplied,
but the rich took all the land and never learned to divide.
Take, take off your shoes…

I’ve heard of many worship songs that include lines about ‘standing on holy ground’. But this is the first time that I’ve heard it used in such a context. Indeed, all the Earth is the Lord’s… and we are all standing on holy ground…


2 thoughts on “Take Off Your Shoes, You’re Standing on Holy Ground

  1. We’re looking for the music to these lyrics for use during a special program in our church, but I’m not finding this song. Can you help me? Thank you.

  2. And I am trawling the internet to see if I can hear the tune. What is it? Are people so jealous of copyright that they daren’t let us hear a bar or two? Some of don’t belong to the Royal School of Church Music nor do we read music. We learn by listening — and listening we should be able to on the internet – especially with words like these. Would be grateful if someone could help. If you have a link so that I can hear the tune to this song on the internet, please email it to misseaglesnetwork@gmail.com. As soon as poss if you can.

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