A Message From Kahu

Picture of a lamb in a tall grass looking at the camera

“Lost & Found”

Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. (Luke 15:6)

A lost sheep. A lost coin. A lost son. Three parables in Luke 15. In each, there is something that is lost and then found—and there is incredible joy!

On Sunday, I talked about how Luke shares these parables in order to shift away from the common way of looking at people as good and bad to a brand new way of seeing people as sometimes lost and sometimes found. We have all been the lost sheep who wanders off…the lost coin that rolls away into a dark corner…the lost son who selfishly makes unwise decisions and hurts himself and others along the way. There are also times when we find ourselves just where we belong and we act with grace and compassion for ourselves and others.

It’s a pattern in our lives, a cycle, a repetition. We move between lost and found throughout our lives; and a key message from the three parables is to learn from our mistakes and poor choices in order to live with more love. Another important message is to stop seeing people (including ourselves!) as good or bad, but rather beloved children of God who attempt to wander off less and less, receive God’s love and pass it on to others more and more. This is something we can improve on throughout our lives.

If you are feeling lost at the moment, may you find your way back into the welcoming arms of a loving God. If you are feeling like you are just where you belong, may your cup of joy overflow!

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu

“Cloudy Vision, Clear Vision”

On Sunday, I shared with the congregation about 3 people who told me that they had experienced visions and in each case they explained what I was supposed to do since, in their opinions, their visions were clear signs from God. The only problem was that I did not sense God speaking to me in those ways at all. I am not “anti-vision.” It’s just that I have a hard time believing everyone who tells me about their visions and especially if it involves action on my part—and even more so if they are the primary beneficiaries of their visions…and my actions.

In Luke’s story of Jesus’ transfiguration (Luke 9), Jesus, Peter, James and John all experienced a vision of Moses and Elijah showing up and confirming what lay ahead for Jesus: suffering, rejection and death. There are some important lessons about vision and visions in this story. For one thing, it is important to interpret all revelation with humility and openness. This is true if you are having a miraculous vision or if you are interpreting the Bible. We ought to be most concerned when we know for certain all of the details of what we are supposed to be doing in the world—and what those around us are supposed to be doing.

I love how the story in Luke ends in silence. With all the interpretations and opinions that are out there available to us 24/7 on our phones, computers and televisions, it is important to take a break and allow ourselves to be silent, as we contemplate what love feels like, and imagine how compassion might feel to those around us, and how grace might feel throughout the world.

As we begin the season of Lent, may we listen with humility and openness to the many ways God speaks to us, and may we pause often to allow ourselves to feel love in the midst of silence, and allow that love to overflow onto others.

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu

“Scandalous Joy”

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!”
(Luke 6:23)

In the book, Joy and Human Flourishing, which he co-edits, the theologian, Justin Crisp, asks the question: “Why joy—and why now?” When he considers all that is wrong with the world and views human behavior “in the shadow cast by the towering wreckage of history,” he understands that joy is not the most obvious choice when it comes to theological topics. As I thought about his words, it almost seems that focusing on joy in a world filled with so much pain is almost scandalous.

He then answers his question by pointing to the pages of the Old and New Testaments: they are filled with joy! There is joy in the midst of celebrations, and there is joy when people are struggling from the effects of injustice. In fact, joy seems to be one of the strongest threads that are woven throughout all of the stories of the Holy Bible—a thread that holds them all together.

Jurgen Moltmann, one of the essayists in the book, defines joy in this way: “Joy is the power to live, to love, to have creative initiative.” He sees that God created everything in the universe as an expression of God’s joy, as recipients of God’s joy, and as creatures that participate in God’s joy—simply by being alive, receiving and giving love, and being just as God created each and everything in its own beautiful and unique way, whether tree or flower, whale or human. That’s our job as creatures!
Just imagine living this day fully open to life, to love, and to being fully who you are just the way God made you—and encouraging others to do the same! When put in this way, it seems that not living with joy would be the actual scandal!
May you have a week filled with joy!

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message from Our Kahu

Anything Is Possible

“For God all things are possible.”

(Matthew 19:26)


Immediately after Christmas, I enjoyed a “staycation.” On a Sunday morning in the new year during my personal time of prayer and reading, I imagined what God might say to me if God would actually speak words out loud. I imagined what God would want me to know. I imagined what God would most want to say to me in the moment. I then wrote down the words that I imagined God speaking to me. This is a spiritual practice I began several years ago.

Here is a selection of what I wrote:

I will see to it that you experience incredible joy.

You are missing absolutely nothing in order to know

deep contentment, joy and wonder.

If you will only trust me in this, anything is possible.

As I begin a new year and consider our church’s vision, as well as what God might have in store for me personally. I felt God calling me to be completely open to the possibilities that lay before us. About an hour later, I picked up a friend and we drove to the very end of the road in Kokee. We parked the car and began walking on the Pihea Trail. As is my custom on that trail, I walked immediately to the edge of the cliff to see how far I could see. Sometimes I see the ocean and the majestic cliffs of Kalalua.

This trip, however, began with a magnificent Brocken Spectre! The phenomenon, which consists of concentric circles of rainbows, is named after a mountain in Germany where the occurrence has been seen by many. In order for it to occur, the observer must be positioned so that the sun is directly behind while standing on the edge of a cliff, and clouds, fog or mist must be in abundance and within a certain range of distance. All of these criteria just happened to be in place on Sunday morning when I arrived on the trail!

Until Sunday, I didn’t even know that this phenomenon was possible. It was a reminder that indeed anything is possible! May this be a year of amazing possibilities for us all!

Aloha nui loa!

Kahu Alan Akana

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Alan-Akana-Portrait-3-28-15-5057-819x1024.jpg

“A Message from Our Kahu” is provided by Rev. Dr. Alan Akana of Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference. Rev. Dr. Akana is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and has been the kahu (pastor) of Koloa Union Church since 2014. Click HERE to learn more about him.

To see a video of this week’s worship service, including the message, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see previous worship services and many of Kahu’s past messages. You can subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.

You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To learn about our Sunday morning worship service, click HERE.

Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.

A Message from Our Kahu

“My Spirit Rejoices”

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, 

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

(Luke 1:46-47)

On Sunday, we lit the candle of joy in the Advent wreath, reminding ourselves of the joy that we feel as we anticipate the birth of Jesus. During my message, I reminded the congregation that joy does not wait until all is right with the world. It is easy to forget that Jesus was born during a time of horrible oppression and injustice. Life was really hard for Mary and her relative Elizabeth. Life was filled with fear and anxiety for the Jewish people living under both Caesar Augustus and King Herod. Nevertheless, we read in Luke, chapter 1, that Elizabeth and all who knew her experienced joy. Mary was so filled with joy that she burst out in song and claimed, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

In the same way, we too can experience joy without having to wait until all oppression and injustice disappear from the face of the earth. In Mary’s song, she identified the reason for this: it is because God loves the oppressed and those who are considered to have very little value in the eyes of society. God looks upon them with favor, has mercy upon them, blesses them. It is important to recognize God’s immense love for all of us—even those who feel like their lives are the least valuable of all. It is in this acknowledgement that the greatest joy can be found.

May you feel deep and lasting joy this week!

Aloha nui loa!

Kahu Alan Akana

“I am a beloved child of God,

who loves me unconditionally,

cherishes and adores me.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Alan-Akana-Portrait-3-28-15-5057-819x1024.jpg

“A Message from Our Kahu” is provided by Rev. Dr. Alan Akana of Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference. Rev. Dr. Akana is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and has been the kahu (pastor) of Koloa Union Church since 2014. Click HERE to learn more about him.

To see a video of this week’s worship service, including the message, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see previous worship services and many of Kahu’s past messages. You can subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.

You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To learn about our Sunday morning worship service, click HERE.

Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.

A Message from Our Kahu

“Hope”

“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

(Psalm 33:22)

First of all, I want to offer my heartfelt and deep gratitude to Doug Duvauchelle for providing an inspirational message on the theme of “hope” this past Sunday morning! In his message, Doug pointed out that hope is something we choose. We can choose it with confidence and trust, not because we are so clever that things always work out the way we want, but because God is so faithful and always present, even in the darkest hours of our lives.

I encourage you to choose hope and live with hope! I also invite you to look around this week and see if you might offer some hope to someone who might not be feeling much hope these days.

May we all be open to they ways that hope shows up during this season leading up to Christmas Day!

Aloha nui loa!

Kahu Alan Akana


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Alan-Akana-Portrait-3-28-15-5057-819x1024.jpg

“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.

To see a video of this week’s worship service, including the message, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see previous worship services and many of Kahu’s past messages. You can subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.

You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To learn about our Sunday morning worship service, click HERE.

Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.