Monday, December 10, 2012
Be Kind... Rewind
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Help me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for the Kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
It was at a Loy Krathong Festival here in Bangkok couple of weeks ago. I was sitting by the river bank of the Chao Phraya River watching people float their krathongs and light up their hot air balloons. The sight is amusing even for someone like me who's been here for a while and have witnesses this rituals quite a number of times. And if you happen to be in Chiang Mai, the celebration is spectacular.
Then it dawned on me. Watching people celebrate religious and cultural festival like this in Thailand has become for me a common sight. Elaborate but nothing so unusual anymore.... What happened?
It wasnt like the first time I was here. Things were so different back then. Coming from a culture shaped by anything Catholic, it was overwhelming to be seeing many Buddhist temples and Islamic mosques instead of the churches and cathedrals we have back home. Those tender days when I felt so much compassion for the people for worshiping golden statues, offering incense, food, and flowers at a spirit house to appease the unseen spirits, and kneeling before a monk with offerings to ask for blessing and protection and to make merits. The longing to let those people coming out of a mosque on a Friday know about God's ultimate Korban, in the person of Jesus Christ. Those days when I felt so helpless because despite my best intention, I couldnt do much because there are barriers to overcome - the culture and the language.
So I tried. To learn the culture and to speak the language. In time, with my adaptation to my host's culture comes the adaptation to everything else. Ministry has become more like something to report about not something done because God's heart breaks for these people. I envy cross-cultural workers who remain focused to the task, where living and sharing the Gospel is one the only one thing that keeps them in their host countries. Anything else is just part of the main package.
It was on that Loy Krathong Day that i realized I needed a new baptism of fire from the Holy Spirit, and a new baptism of compassion for the lost souls. Talking to my friend last night about going back to 1998 when I was being challenged about the task remaining and how we can take our part in it. To keep that call alive and to not become too familiar with the things that I once perceived as foreign beliefs, practices, rituals which desperately needed the proclamation of God's power unto freedom and salvation. And more often, it's when we lose our first love to Jesus that we start losing our love for things that mattered to Him.
Now, where do I begin? ; )