Reviewing the Past

Wednesday, Feb 8th, 2012

    Pagodas in Bagan, MyanmarVisiting Bagan is a journey into the storied past of Burma (Myanmar).  This part of the kingdom flourished from the mid-eleventh century until the mid-fourteenth century.  Covered with religious shrines--temples, monasteries, and ordination halls--for as far as the eye can see, this land speaks of the human longing for God.

    create students at PagodasIt would be overly simple to suggest that Buddhist worshippers are necessarily approaching the holy in the same way; however, one senses that these sacred spaces, housing the prayers of the devoted for centuries, are lavished with expressions of praise and hope.  A quiet tranquility descends upon the pilgrim entering these architectural gems--also an expression of the human quest for transcendence.

    Students are wrestling with the right questions as they line up their understanding of Scripture while practicing respect for the lived religion of others (a core value of the Luce Foundation.)  Desiring that all come to know Jesus as God's great gift of salvation, they also are deepening their awareness that the ways of God are more mysterious and encompassing than can be fathomed.  At the very least, witnessing enduring expressions of devotion to the ways of the Buddha evokes insight about the human condition, i.e., we are attuned to instruction from beyond ourselves, and we are created to worship the Holy.

    create students with local kids in BaganNot only are humans created for worship, humans are created to play!  Yesterday in the village market, a lively game of "I-don't know what to call it" which involved kicking a ball in a circle broke out between some children and our students.  It was a joy to behold the smiles and giggles as common humanity was on display.  I believe it was a delight to God, also.  One cannot witness creation without being convinced of God's playfulness, too.

Molly T. Marshall