When I’m trying to describe Myanmar to friends who have never been there, one of the things I often do is mention how at home, we can’t drive anywhere in our city without passing half a dozen churches. In Myanmar, you can’t drive anywhere without passing a dozen pagodas or shrines. A number of verses in the Old Testament of the Bible talk about the people building places of worship on every high hill and under every spreading tree. These verses could well have been describing Myanmar where there are indeed pagodas on every high hill and shrines under every spreading tree.
Everywhere we go we see pagodas on all the high places, and even more in other convenient or auspicious places. Some of them have interesting names such as ‘Where the Chicken Scratched’ and many of them have stories associated with their founding or beginning. It’s not just at the high places either. We have been to several caves and all of them also have pagodas and Buddhas in them – often with at least one monk who looks after the Buddha(s) and the cave.
Down by the taxi stand there is a big old spreading tree – a Bodhi tree – where all the taxi drivers hang out waiting for customers. On the trunk of the tree is a shrine to the local nats (spirits) where people make offerings. There might be flowers there, incense or candles and often food. Wherever we see this variety of tree there is always a shrine attached to the trunk.
Will you pray for Myanmar?
- Pray that the people of Myanmar may be able to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation without turning it into something to be worshipped.
- Pray that the people of Myanmar will seek the one true God who can help them.
- Pray that God’s true temple may be in the hearts of the Myanmar people.