Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
This blog post was written by my wonderful husband, Jeff. : )
October 23rd is the Thai celebration of King Chulalongkorn. He was the fifth king of Siam and is celebrated because of his significant reforms made to society during his reign. The king took the throne at the age of 15 and was exposed to Western culture and language. You may recognize his story, less from the impact he made on the lives of the slaves he set free or the social reforms for equality he enacted, and more from the Broadway musical and movie adaptations of the book, Anna and the King of Siam.
Although we are in a land known for its adoration of Buddha and his teachings, and less so for their recognition of the Abrahamic God, I can’t help but recognize the joy in their shouts today as they celebrate the goodness, love, and humility shown by their former king. We witnessed this celebration firsthand as we milled through the markets set up alongside the Nan River and as we watched and listened to the Long Boat races. Though we could not understand the language, we were certain there was joy, as smiles abounded and laughter filled the air. Really that is all that this scripture reading asks us to do, celebrate the world which God has so willingly and graciously given to us.
Although the Thai people do not share the same Christian faith that I have, I can state unequivocally that they share, and perhaps exceed, my appreciation for the world. The Thai people express gratitude, humility, and friendliness that I have rarely come to encounter, and they do so with no expectation of a returned favor. I feel very fortunate to understand that a belief in the same God is not required to live like God wants us to live and I realize that the many teachings of Buddhism align very well with those of Jesus. Perhaps we have a lot more in common than we have in disagreement. For that I shout to God with loud songs of Joy.