When God tells Moses to head back to Egypt (which he has wisely left after committing murder there) Moses replies, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ It seems a fair question. At the moment, Moses is no more than a fugitive from justice hiding out in the wilderness, pursuing the lowly occupation of shepherd to his father-in-law's sheep. But God sees in Moses what Moses cannot see in himself. Requiring him to remove the sandals from his feet, God grounds this experience of holiness in the very soil from which every human has come. With no barrier between Moses and the earthy reminder of all our beginnings ("from dust you have come and to dust you will return") Moses is simultaneously brought low and lifted up.
On Ash Wednesday at UniPlace we each received the sign of the cross on our foreheads to these words: From dust you came and to dust you will return. On the journey between, go with God. Standing on holy ground, Moses' call is grounded in God's passion for justice and his identity is lifted high, to be more than he thought he could be.