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In a number of Thai churches I have noticed that the type of worship songs selected fall into three general categories: 1) “I offer you my life” 2) “Pour out your Spirit” and, 3) “I want to be close to you”. This emphasis is hardly unique to Thailand as much of modern worship songs here are heavily influenced from the West. These type of songs have a time and place yet it seems that in some churches, these are almost the only type of songs that are played. As we sing the same basic things over and over again, I have begun to wonder, “Where is Christ? Where is the cross?”. It seems to be a glaring oversight to not have songs about Christ and his finished work on the cross as a mainstay of Christian worship. When I come into the weekly worship meeting, the first thing that my heart wants to sing is usually not “I offer my life to you” or “You are my every desire.” Why is that? Is it because I am not spiritual enough? Yes, in fact, that is exactly the reason. If I am honest to myself, my motivations are usually mixed and Christ is not my every desire. When songs come up that require me to sing lyrics like “You are all that I want”, I will often go silent or sing very quietly, praying in my heart, “Oh LORD, make me desire nothing but you. This song is not me. Change my heart God, and increase my love for you.” If I sing songs that say more than is really true, then I feel like I am lying to God and everyone around me.
This morning I got up early and walked down to the main temple in Phra Phutta Baht to see the annual Flower Offering Merit Making Festival (ประเพณีตักบาตรดอกไม้) and take some pictures. The two parallel roads leading up to the temple were filled with people waiting to put flowers and dry food goods offerings into the bowls of 3,000 monks who were assembled for the occasion. See below for some photos followed by a bit of commentary.