Our first full day of the trip was an adventure. It started with an American and Thai breakfast buffet at the hotel. Our first stop was at the Grand Palace; the colors and textures were unlike anything I have ever seen. In the photo, you can see the attention to detail in each “yaksha” (demon guard) and the gold plated structure they are supporting. The large crowds consisted of both tourists and individuals paying homage. As a pilgrim, I believe that I was a part of both groups. Our pilgrimage to Thailand and Myanmar combines the spiritual and physical journey, thus creating an entirely new way to encounter God.
One of the main takeaways from today was the warmth and hospitality shown to our group. As we traversed the river on our “Long-tail” boat, a vendor rowed out to greet us. She listed many of the things in her canoe and then with a big smile held up a beautiful green hat. I believe she was offering us her best, something she was proud of. It made me think about the inventory God has put in my “canoe”. Can you articulate your best? Even more, will you row out and joyfully share it with the next passerby?
The Nashville cohort just completed our first class with Dr. Molly T. Marshall at Conception Abbey and I am still processing all that transpired in my heart during that time. Being at the Abbey allowed us to share our stories and get to know one another in a way that enabled community to happen. The rhythm of prayer and quietude inspired the kind of contemplation introduced to us in the books we read in preparation for the class. Dr. Marshall’s focused discussion about creativity and spirituality enabled us to consider the road ahead and how we will practice spirituality as a community and as individual ministers in the work we do. I am honored and thrilled to be a part of the CBTS community. It is just the beginning and I am excited about what lies ahead!