And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness. Leviticus 16:20-22
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
One of the most important and popular festivals in Thailand is Loi Krathong.
The celebrations take place along the banks of rivers, canals and ponds in the evening of the full moon in November. Prior to the festival, Thai people buy or make circular decorations, called krathongs, which they float on the water. Traditionally formed from a slice of banana plant, the beautifully adorned krathongs are covered with flowers, intricately folded banana leaves, a candle, and incense sticks.
After dark, large crowds of men, women and children gather at the edge of the water -- each carrying their personal krathongs. They pause to give thanks to the goddess of water and to whisper prayers to Buddha. A stunning display of hundreds of flickering lights is created as the incense sticks and candles are lit, the krathongs are placed on the water, and begin floating downstream.
Thai people believe the krathongs carry away their sins, grievances and worries of the past and provide them a chance for a new beginning.
Following their Buddhist beliefs, the Thai people attempt to atone for their sins by earning merit through good works that will give them good karma. The goal is to ensure their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. It's a never-ending struggle to keep the balance scale tipped to their advantage.
In November, Ratchanok, one of our Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand volunteers, was asked to help her friend sell krathongs.
Ratchanok agreed, but told her friend she would not participate in floating a krathong on the river.
When her friend asked why, Ratchanok replied, "I'm a Christian. I don't need a krathong to carry away my sins. Jesus already took away all my sins when He died on the cross."
What joy we Christians have knowing we don't have to pay the price for our sins, and we don't need to have our sins placed on the head of a scapegoat or on a krathong. Jesus took our sins onto Himself, paid the price with His life on the cross, and opened the gates of heaven for us. Jesus washed away all our sins, as far as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12).
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for carrying our sins and taking away our guilt. Open the hearts and minds of the Thai people to know this truth: that forgiveness can be found only in You. In Your Name I pray it. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Dennis Denow, a missionary in Thailand with the LCMS Office of International Mission. Pastor Denow is the husband of LHM-Thailand Director, Monta Ekwanit Denow. He volunteers to teach English classes for the LHM-Thailand staff and to assist with their school outreach program. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand focuses on sharing the Gospel and making contacts with local people through various community radio programs, Equipping the Saints (ETS) evangelism training, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), print, Internet, and Gospel text messaging. The staff also conducts special children's activities and does presentations in many government schools.
In this country of 67 million people, LHM-Thailand is known in-country at Journey into Light. It was established in 1991 in Bangkok where it has its ministry center today. It broadcasts three different 25-minute radio programs and follows up with listeners who respond for assistance or more information. Through "listener gatherings" it brings people together and helps build a sense of community. Relationships with school children and educators are established through presentations delivered at public schools. Staff members and volunteers also connect with people through music, camp-style activities, and by teaching about Christianity and culture.
To learn more about LHM-Thailand, you can visit its blog by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries