Tachilek is forever etched in my mind. It is a Shan State border town in Burma (Myanmar) that sites on the Mae Sai river near the heart of the Golden Triangle. It is known as a major distribution point for heroin and related drugs. The reasons are my memories are two fold. First, I found a wonderful Burmese carving out of a piece of solid teak. Like everything truly human, it exists with a flaw or two. It is a wonderful reminder of how much wisdom flows from flawed individuals! Second, any lingering myth of quiet Buddhist worship vanished!
As Carli and I walked through the city with Anan, we found ourselves exploring a Shan community. The community reflected the ongoing battle of many minorities in communities that exist on land originally belonging to the minority. The constant battle for equal standing, fair access, and respect is universal.
Just beyond the community, on top of a hill, was a sacred pagoda. While attracting tourists, most of the visitors were coming to worship. There was nobody about the experience that fit within the norms. Believers and guests alike were invited to pick up a stout wooden mallet and hit a gong for good luck. Around the eight worship stations at the base of the pagoda, different grounds and individuals took their turns offering incense, prayer, and offerings to Buddha. Two groups still flicker in my memories. One was a group of young girls, laughing, enjoying life, and worshipping with incense and prayers together. The other was a similar group of young boys. In both cases, kids between the ages of eight and eleven or twelve, worshipping, laughing, and discovering God together.
“Voices! Listen! Your scouts are shouting, thunderclap shouts, shouting in joyful unison. They see with their own eyes God coming back to Zion.” (Isaiah 52.8)
I am going to make some noise today. I know God is looking forward to it! God loves any and every time his kids decide to come home. God celebrates when we engage with every fiber of our being. Let’s rock.
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