[A letter received from ELCA companion Church of Christ in Thailand. This follows an earlier prayer request from the CCT.]
Many of you have written with expressions of solidarity for us in the Thai church and with the Thai people over these last few days. We are thankful for your concern and prayers at this time when our nation is struggling through a seminally tumultuous time in its history. Many questions still remain unanswered about the events that shocked both Thailand and the world last week. Many of them will probably remain unsanwered. The one certainty we have is that all is not yet at “peace” in this country known as the “land of smiles.” There is a still a lot of hard work to bring about true peace and reconciliation.
In this nation today there are people who have lost loved ones, those who were physically and emotionally harmed in the violence. There are those whose businesses and homes have been burned, those who have lost their livelihoods because of the downturn in tourism or because the place in which they once worked is out of business. There are those facing criminal charges and those who desire justice. There are those whose hopes, whether well founded or not, of a better society have been crushed or still burn within them like insatiable hunger. And there are also those whose only care is to get back to making money, gernering influence and living “the good life.” What is to be done with all these desires and emotions? How could there ever be a “settlement” with such a national landscape? While it is true that this was the worst violence in terms of lives lost and people physically hurt that the nation has ever experienced, this is not the first time Thailand has faced a crisis. And we might take heart that in all the other times of crisis the Thai spirit has shown uncommon resilience and has ultimately survived.
But as Christian people it is not just “survival” that we hope for but the “Kingdom of God.” We don’t want our nation to just muddle through, or be “ok” in comparison to other nations. We want it to be the best it can be. We want it to reflect the character of a loving, compassionate and just God. We want children to not just be safe, but to flourish with good nutrition, education, healthcare and self-esteem. We want men and women to excel in loving one another, develop their God-given gifts to create order and livelihood from the good earth and to live in harmonious relationship in families and communities. We want public servants to be just that — “servants” of the public instead of their own self interests or those of the highest bidder. To this end we aks for your continued prayers for our church. May God help us to see and understand our responsilibity to our society — to be salt and light, to be prophets and healers — and be all of these things as a witness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Sayam Muangsak
Church of Christ in Thailand