Honor your Ancestors

Exodus 12:20 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (NIV)

We took a winding road down from the heights of Badaling at the Great Wall to Ming Dynasty tombs. We walked a willow tree lined broad lane where emperors walked to visit their ancestors.  The light coming through the willows was spectacular and a welcome cool silence gave us a stimuli break after the Great Wall. Buddhist red prayer wood panels are available to buy along the path. The boxes hold four by five inch square wood blocks with Chinese words. It reminded me of lighting candles and placing incense in Catholic churches.

There are life size stone animals we recognize today like elephants and horses, and mythical creatures lining the walk. There is a huge marble turtle with a dragon head protected from the elements under a majestic arch. Chinese architecture I had seen in movies and pictures did not prepare me for the size and color in person.   The arches soar; the marble carvings are polished and worn smooth. Each rock and statue and column has a story inscribed by the builder and tells of slavery and artistry.


After the animals guard the ancient Emperor’s path through the willows, they are reminded of humanity. Marble statues of twelve leaders have mirrored images of smiling and frowning faces across from each other. They were used to prepare you to greet your ancestors. The serenity and quietness of this place has drawn people here for centuries.

How do you honor your parents? When have you been blessed by visiting your parents? Grandparents? What stories do you remember? Do you have difficult memories with parents? 


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