I stopped believing the day I entered a Buddhist temple on a mission’s trip.
I stopped believing when I saw the men taking off their shoes before they entered their holy place. When I witnessed their reverent bows, the intimacy with which they kissed the floor with their foreheads.
I was an 18-year-old girl fresh out of Bible School, on the streets of Vancouver, doing missions, and these men had more awe in their bare feet than I’d ever had of God, or than I’d ever witnessed in any church I’d been to. And I wondered if we weren’t just lying to ourselves.
I was supposed to be telling people about Jesus but I wasn’t even praying anymore.
And I felt like I’d just learned I was adopted, because I’d always believed. But these men believed their idol was the truth, too.
And then at the end of a week of sitting with the forgotten on the inner-city streets and serving soup to the hungry and doing things I felt I could do honestly, because I still believed in humanity, I called home.
Mum picked up and said, “Emily? Are you okay?”
“It’s been a hard week, why?”
“God has been waking me up every night this week to pray for you.
And I’m not sure that I didn’t take my shoes off right then and there.
I don’t have all of the answers. I still don’t understand the holiness I felt in the Buddhist temple that day.
But I do know my God sings over me. He wakes my mother to pray for me. And he’s my savior.
[photo: Duane Scott]