Sins Don’t Float
A festival reveals a sobering truth.
THAILAND — Under the light of the full November moon, thousands of people gathered by the river, murmuring in expectation. Thousands of candles balanced in little hand-crafted boats, called krathong, slowly bobbed down the river. Faces lit by flickering shadows showed a broad range of emotions — excitement, sadness, nostalgia.
Loy Krathong: Thailand’s biggest festival of the year. People decorate their vessels as offerings to carry away their prayers, dreams and even sins, sending them floating down the river.
Crossworld workers Tim and Nicole walked along the riverside admiring the beauty of the candlelit scene, but they couldn’t deny the deep sadness that filled their hearts like the smell of incense filled the night air.
As they pointed out the floating flower-wreathed boats to their young daughter, they chatted with other bystanders and neighbors. “Who are these offerings for?” Tim asked.
One man replied, “For the goddess of the river, Pra Mae Kohngka,” while another told him, “Buddha.” Still another bystander told him she believed in the power of the ceremony itself.
As they talked with their neighbors further, Tim and Nicole realized something startling: Many Thai know the river has no real power to answer prayer or wash sins away. They know that even the Buddha taught that sins cannot be erased and that idols should not be worshiped. Yet, most of Tim and Nicole’s friends and neighbors still turn to idols and spirits, and they still attempt to float away their wrongdoings.
But sins don’t just float away, and idols don’t answer prayers.
At home the next day, Tim and Nicole prayed that their friends and neighbors searching for truth would find Jesus, the only One who can truly carry their sins away.