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?
I am a bridge builder who reaches across theological, geographical, and cultural divides to relate to people and pastors in many different kinds of situations, always bringing people closer to each other and closer to God. I am someone who listens deeply and responds out of a recognition of God’s giftedness in each and every person before me. I am someone who cares widely and looks for ways to be attentive to God’s ever-abundant grace in our midst.