image of Smithsonian museum of African American History & Culture

A Message From Our Kahu

A Wind Too Strong

A hot wind comes from me out of

the bare heights in the desert…

not to winnow or cleanse— 

a wind too strong for that! 

Look! He comes up like clouds,

    his chariots like the whirlwind…

    woe to us, for we are ruined!

Disaster overtakes disaster!

    The whole land is laid waste.

I looked on the earth,

and it was complete chaos,

I looked, and the fruitful land

was a desert.

(Verses from Jeremiah 4)

On Sunday, September 11, we remembered Hurricane Iniki on the 30th anniversary of that devastating natural disaster for Kauai. We also remembered the terror attacks on 9/11/01 and the wars that followed, as well as the attack on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on 9/11/12. During the Call to Worship and Opening Prayer, we gave the congregation a chance to sit in silence in order to remember and to reflect on those and other devastating losses. We also considered what it means to stand in solidarity with those who remain and suffer after such tragedies. We also remembered the importance of standing in solidarity with and encouraging the peacemakers of the world. We cannot escape sadness, loss and death in our lives, but we can remember that God is always present with those who suffer. We can also remember that God’s Spirit shows up like wind—sometimes as a gentle and comforting cool breeze on a hot day, and sometimes like a hurricane to knock us out of our complacency.

In the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin in Luke 15, the Gospel reminds us that God deeply loves us at all times, even when we are feeling rather lost and “unaccounted for.” It also reminds us that God loves others just as deeply and, therefore, there is not a single person alive who is any more or any less important than the rest of us. May we treat all people with compassion and understanding, and may we pray for a world where this is the common way of relating to others.

I shared some photos on Sunday from my trip to Kauai just a few days after Hurricane Iniki. I was living in Honolulu and serving on the Hawaii Council of Churches Disaster Relief Task Force and soon became the treasurer of the HCC Iniki Relief Fund. You can see those photos below.

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana