Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Hope of Loy Krathong

As the saying goes, " When in Rome, do as the Romans do"....or something like that! Anyway, last night, Sam and I joined with what seemed to be all of Bangkok and headed for the nearest body of water in order to offer thanks by the light of November's full moon for water. In truth, I offered thanks for so much more as I prayerfully stood on the banks of the Queen's Park lake.

The traditional festival dates back over 700 years and finds it roots in a Hindu festival where the water gods were thanked for their help throughout the year by floating a krathong (a beautiful floating bouquet lit with candles and incense) on the river. Today, in addition to offering thanks, pushing the krathong downstream is symbolic of washing away the previous year's sins and hoping for good karma to come. There's even an official song that children learn from an early age much like we learn Christmas carols that is translated something like this-

November full moon shines,
Loy Krathong, Loy Krathong,
and the water's high in the river
and local klong,
Loy Krathong, Loy Krathong,
Loy Krathong is here and
everybody's full of cheer,
We're together at the klong,
Each one with his krathong,
As we push we pray,
We can see a better day.

It was a beautiful sight seeing families praying together, then watching them as they gazed at their krathongs float away so full of hope and anticipation for a bright future. The collective beauty of the candle light on the lake and the sweet incense filled air made a lasting impression. However, on a deeper level, the festival has left me wondering and questioning...

I wonder if God heard the prayers of each precious person's heart even if they called Him by another name... I wonder if I had been born in Thailand to a Buddhist family, would I be a Christian today?... I wonder why it's so hard to accept the gift of forgiveness and the hope of eternal life God gave us through Christ's sacrifice...

Christ said that we as Christians are the light of the world...I can't imagine the beauty that would fill the earth if we all shined with our God given potential like the lit krathong candles on the lake last night...Surely, then the whole world would bow down and worship the one true God.

1 comment:

David Michael said...

Isn't it interesting that water, fire, and wind are significant elements in most world religions, including Christianity?

Just a few more days!