Today was an interesting day. Two of the teachers came and got us at ten this morning to take us sight seeing. I guess you could call it that. The first place they took us was a calcite cave. Apparently there are only three of them in the entire world and I happened to plant myself ten minutes down the road from one. It was amazingly beautiful. The calcite formed all kinds of different shapes and structures inside the cave. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside the cave. So, you will have to take my word for it. It was amazing.
Then, we got to go on a “burn incense to the buddha man/woman” trek which lasts for approximately seven hours and requires you to walk a billion steps. So we did that. We went to the first pagoda and watched as they burned little sticks to a women sitting indian style with half her chest covered. Apparently, when the next budha is supposed to reincarnate himself, he is going to appear as a women. Now, don’t quote me on this. It’s what Bobby told me. So, the idol is woman instead of the fat dude with the happy smile.
So, apparently, it’s a multiple stage event spreading across the entire valley. After we burned sticks and candles at the first one, we went to the second one. Apparently the second one was the biggest budha statue in the province. And it was huge. I totally left my camera in the truck though. Blast. Anyway, we climb the 94 stairs to the top of the mountain and to my right is this huge golden budha and to my left is the whole entire valley opened up with another line of mountains on the other side. Rivers winding and bending. Rice fields making a cosmic size checker board. And nestled in the right hand side of the valley was the town of Maesariang. Absolutly breath taking. Bobby and I both turned our back to the budha and almost at the same time said, “Behind me is the god you serve and in front of me is the God I serve.” It was supposed to be the biggest statue in the province. She might even have said the country. But, looking out over the valley, the thing behind us was dwarfed by a big, big God. It was almost like God was saying, “You think you’re big? I made the mountain you are sitting on.”
And from then on out, it was just kind of silly going and burning sticks to little statues when the God of whole entire universe is screaming at you with green mountains and winding rivers. Yet, we find ourselves burning little sticks to silly little idols all the time.
The God of the universe is screaming for you. Will you still burn little sticks to little idols? He loves you. Why stare after relics which represent dead things when there is a God who is very much ALIVE and very much REAL calling your name?
“So I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned, In awe of the one who gave it all.” -Hillsong United
p.s. If I can look like the guy above with the same smile and the same belly when I get old. I will have arrived.