My favorite Thai holiday is Loi Gratong. It is today and I am sad it is minus eight outside so that I cannot float my sins down the river on a banana boat.
That is what we do, you see. Beautiful floats are made from the banana tree trunk slices, banana leaves and brightly colored flowers. When the float is ready—looking like a wedding carriage for Thumbelina, we put a small candle and fire crackers on it. Then, full of somber reverence, we walk down to the edge of a river, and put the float on the water. The Buddhist idea is that we put our sins on the float and the river takes it away. The Christian idea is similar, except that for us, the river becomes a symbol of Jesus and what he has done for us.
Our kids love Loi Gratong too. They look forward to sitting on the floor at the Partners office every year, cutting flowers and pinning them to the float. The only sad thing is that they will float away in just some hours.
“Goodbye sins!” The girls would say as they watched their elaborate sin-boat float away while fire works lit up the sky, along with thousands of lanterns that floated on the sky. The higher up the lanterns flew, the better your karma would be.
He put eternity in their hearts, says Ecclesiastics. How true I have found that to be. I have never seen a better illustration of forgiveness and redemption than I have seen on the river banks of Thailand late at night, together with thousands who are all so eager to see their sins float away, washed away by the water. The water of life is who I think of. For him I can make the most elaborate display. Because my sins are so many that there needs to be some attractive colors to divert the attention. Happy Loi Gratong!