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Shoes For Every Occasion!

It stands in the bookcase not far from my grandmother's tiny hymnbook, my grandfather’s regimental matchbox and a silver shoe that once adorned our wedding cake. It has started quite a few conversations in its time, but it is not quite what it seems.

At first glance it looks like something that has no place in a Christian home – a good luck symbol. That is what shiny horseshoes usually are – but not this one!

Racehorse shoe

I first saw one just like it in the house of one of John’s Aunts. When I admired it – for it is beautiful – I was told that it was not just a silver ornament but a real horseshoe. I was asked to pick it up and I was astonished to find that it weighed hardly anything at all. There was no way this could be a real horseshoe!

"Oh yes it is!" said Aunt Gert and she went on to explain that she had a very good friend who was a blacksmith, who worked as a farrier for some of the stables where race horses are trained. Before some races where every ounce of weight matters, the horses are fitted with special shoes made of a lightweight alloy, she told me. This was one of those shoes which her friend had given her, when she admired one in his home. The only difference from one actually fitted to a horse’s hoof was that the back had been smoothed off so that it would lie flat on a shelf.

A few weeks later, there was a package in the post for me and in it was the little shiny horseshoe, which now stays in the bookcase. Aunt Gert’s blacksmith friend had made one for me too and all because I had admired the other horseshoe.

A special shoe for a special purpose and a fine example of a craftsman’s skill.

But that little horseshoe would be of no use whatsoever to the horses that we see most often hereabouts – for they are the great Clydesdale workhorses. They were first bred at a farm just over the hill from us and, although replaced as far as work goes by machinery, many are still kept on. There is much rivalry among the farms as to just which of the splendid animals can lift the most prizes at the agricultural shows.

Clydedale& Racehorse

One of our favourite sights is a mare with a new foal – a lovely shaggy little beast but with such big feet.

Last week we were given a Clydesdale’s horseshoe. It weighs in at 2lb 3 1/2 oz (1005 gm ). Compare that to the other which is only 1 oz (30gm)!

We, too, have special shoes. Have you ever gone for a walk in a pair of light shoes, thinking that is it was too much of an effort to change into the correct walking boots? Then it serves us right if we have to endure the discomfort of a twisted angle!

Shoes for running; boots for walking; sandals for the beach; slippers for lounging - and Wellingtons to keep out the rain!

But the most important shoes of all are the ones mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 6:11-17:

"Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
As shoes for your feet, put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

"As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace" – What will that phrase mean for you today?

Make sure you are wearing the right shoes for wherever your feet take you today!

Copyright (c) Elizabeth M. Tolson 29th April 2002

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