Many Languages, One Table

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blog post by Brian Davis

The staff at the Changed Life Center in the Wiang Kaen province of Northern Thailand welcomed our team to their weekly meeting this Wednesday. Pastors from all over this province, including a Pastor from Laos that works with many churches in that region, also come. After a brief time of sharing about how God is working in the various villages and towns of Northern Thailand and Northern Laos, I was asked to lead a brief devotional. After having visited the area in October in preparation for this trip with students, I was prepared this time, though it didn’t stop me from utilizing the “canned-devo-roladex” (I had to explain what a ‘roladex’ is, or was, to our young millenneals. For shame.)  Though I shared from Exodus 33, I really had Peter’s vision in Joppa (Acts 10) on my mind since we had just read it as a team early that morning.

You remember the story… “Peter, kill and eat. Don’t call anything impure that God has made clean” (v. 13, 15). This, of course, is about far more than some new Christian dietary rules, and had a profound effect on the mission of the early Church in a Mediterranean world filled with people from different tribes, cultures, languages — and by extension, it has a profound impact on the way we conduct ourselves as Christians in 2015 in Thailand.

It means we are now free to dine with folks that we previously would not. Free to hang out with people that we normally would not, because we are different from them. For Peter, he was now free to hang out with the “dirty” Gentiles. For us, we can study the scriptures (in the same room!) with people who speak English, Lao, Khmu, Thai, and Japanese. We can eat with them! There is something magical about hanging out with, sharing a meal with, and studying the scriptures with people(s) that look different than you, speak a different language than you, eat different food than you, and even experience God in a different way than you. You might say it’s like experiencing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Lao, Thai, Khmu, Japanese, North Americans… Many languages, one table.