I apologize about my lapse in writing. I have been very busy, then I was sick for a few days. I’ve also been really pondering how to write this post because it’s something that was so…..eye-opening to me. I don’t think that anything I write here could really help you picture it as well as you would experiencing it yourself. But I will do my best.
Last Saturday Pookie took me to the top of the mountain here in Chiang Mai to visit the Doi Suthep temple, one of Thailand’s most famous temples. This mountain (I don’t know the name) sets a sort of background for Chiang Mai. It’s a different sort of mountain than what we experience in the PNW, but a mountain nonetheless.
Because it was a Buddhist holiday weekend, we were not the only visitors to the temple. NO! Hundreds of people flocked to the temple to pay their respects and to worship their Buddhist idols. As we entered the temple it was very obvious that tourism has it’s part. Farang (foreigners) are charged extra! Upon receiving our ticket we were also given a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for behavior in the temple. Shoes are not allowed in the main area of worship and if you are wearing shorts you are given a long skirt to wear over them. Needless to say, they respect their idols! I cannot even begin to convey the sadness that filled my heart as I watched each person walk around the grand center three times with their lotus flower and candle praying to Buddha to take away their sins. Do they not see that there is no hope in this idol worship? The feeling reminded me of Paul in Acts 17:16- Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. How will these people ever know about the hope that lies within me? How will they know about the salvation that can truly set them free? WE must tell them!
Then I began to think. America is not too different. America’s idols are not as obvious, yet they exist. What are they? Well, they exist in the form of computers, music, sports, anything that replaces God. Granted, you don’t usually see people bowing down to worship their computers (maybe sometimes music stars) but their actions indicate their bondage. How will THESE people ever know about the hope that lies within us?! I hope that we will consider the need. Not all of us can hop on a plane to Thailand to reach the Buddhist. But each of us have neighbors, friends, coworkers, classmates. THEY need Christ just as much as the Buddhist.
I didn’t really intend for this to be a “Serious Only” post, but thinking about such things can be very sobering. I don’t think I can really help you gain the same burden that I have acquired since coming to Thailand (unless, of course, you come yourself!) but I hope that I can provoke some thought.