On Sunday, we heard the story in Genesis 18 of Abraham entertaining three strangers with “over the top” hospitality. When they arrived, he washed their feet, insisted they rest in the shade, and brought them water and a lavish feast. Even though Abraham most likely had no idea who any of the three guests were, we read in the text that Abraham and Sarah were entertaining God! It reminded me of the stories I read about my ancestors on Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii Island when a stranger—usually an elderly woman—would show up at a home on the slopes of the volcano. As it turned out, the stranger was Madame Pele herself—the great goddess of the volcanoes! If the family showed hospitality, the next eruption would spare their home—sometimes by just a few feet. However, if they did not show hospitality, the home would be covered by lava within days. The elders told these stories to their grandchildren to make sure they knew the importance of showing hospitality to others. These stories remind me of what Mother Teresa used to say when she was alive: that every stranger we meet is Jesus in disguise.
I think our church does really well when it comes to hospitality! The people here have definitely showed “over the top” hospitality to me, and I have watched them share it with others. Our capital campaign even came from our desire to show hospitality toward others; coming right from our new vision statement:
When people pass by our church, they notice its beauty and feel a sense of invitation and welcome. When they visit, they feel God’s unconditional love and a sense of beauty and peace everywhere on our campus. When they return, they find it effortless to connect spiritually and emotionally with others and to become involved in the life of the church in meaningful ways.
I am so honored to be the kahu of a church that cares so much about hospitality and making people feel so welcome among us! I invite you to come and experience the Hawaiian hospitality for yourself!
Kahu Alan Akana
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.
Join us at 10:30 on Sunday mornings at 3289 Poipu Road in Koloa to hear a full sermon by Kahu Akana.