“We Are Guests Here”

Sunday was Earth Day, and I shared the story of when I stood on Kaimu Black Sand Beach in Kalapana in 1990 and watched liquid lava flow over the beach and into the ocean. I also shared a picture of the scene (above). As the lava approached Kaimu that year, the wife of a distant relative of mine saw that the lava was heading straight for her home. She went outside and stood in front of the oncoming lava and prayed that it would go around the house. (By the way, this house stands on the property where my great-great-grandparents used to live.) I don’t know if she prayed to God, Jesus or Pele, but the lava went completely around the house and filled in the entire bay which you can see in the picture. The steam at the far end of the photograph is where the lava first entered the bay; it eventually covered the entire beach and bay. The new coastline is about a quarter of a mile away now—a quarter of a mile of land that was ocean in 1990!

People in Kalapana say that it is a miracle that the home of my relatives still stands, and they attribute its existence to the prayer that was offered by the wife of my relative. I don’t doubt for a minute that our prayers are important. However, I also know that hundreds of other people in Kalapana also prayed, and their homes were destroyed. Furthermore, people on Kaua`i last week prayed that the flood waters would not enter their homes, and some of those people who prayed lost nearly every possession that was in their homes. When it comes to the Earth and our prayers, we don’t always get exactly what we want.

During this past week, I spent some time reflecting on the Earth and on our prayers. Our Gospel passage from Luke on Sunday was the story of Jesus calming the storm while he and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. For me, one of my most important reflections was that the disciples were exactly where Jesus wanted them to be and doing exactly what he wanted them to do. We have a tendency to wonder what is wrong when bad things happen to us. During the storms of our lives (both figurative and literal), we wonder if we are not where God wants us or if we are not Doing what God wants. We wonder if God is punishing us. The story from Luke reminds us that we sometimes suffer when we are exactly where God wants us and doing exactly what God wants us to do. The most important part of the story for me is that Jesus is there in the midst of the storm; he is present with the disciples with compassion. The same is true for us.

If you would like to hear about my other reflections from the passage, you can see my message on YouTube by clicking the link below. In the meantime, I invite you to open your eyes and your hearts in order to see God’s presence in your midst wherever you may be on this Earth, and I ask you to remember that we are guests here on this planet! May we take care of the Earth and all of the other guests who reside here.

Aloha nui!

Kahu Alan Akana


Our Kahu (Pastor) offers a weekly message in church most Sundays during the year. Click HERE to see a video of his sermon from this past Sunday. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see many of his past messages and 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.

“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.