Baleyssagues, France

“Beautiful Gardens”

“But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23)

On Sunday, I shared with the congregation about two spectacular gardens I visited in southern France during my sabbatical last year. The first was Boissonna Garden, a stunning rose garden which I described as “rose crazy.” It seemed that every color of rose imaginable was there. In the little café, they offered rose petal tea, rose-flavored ice cream, rose-shaped scones served with rose petal preserves and clotted cream—all made on the premises or locally. The gift shop sold rose soaps, lotions, oils, photos, and much more. However, the reason people go there is to wander among the beautiful roses. The second was Coursiana Gardens, which includes an arboretum and botanical gardens, on a spectacular estate overlooking a small lake and a two-towered 14th-century stone church in the distance. Coursiana also has stunning displays of roses, but many other varieties of flowering plants and trees as well. Since my description cannot do justice to either of these places, I included some photos of Boissanna above and Coursiana below.

In my message, I talked about Jesus’ Parable of the Sower and how good soil brings about remarkable growth from tiny seeds. He explained to his disciples that the seed is each “word of the kingdom,” or a description of God’s grand and wonderful vision for the world where everyone matters and no one is left out when it comes to food, healthcare, and belonging—where God’s deep love and abundant life are for everyone, including those on the margins of society. The soil is the human heart, and when our hearts are open to receiving the “word of the kingdom,” then we are able to hear and actually listen; and we are able to see and actually perceive.

What might you do this week to make your heart that good, rich soil where the “word of the kingdom” can take root, grow within you and produce many more seeds to be shared with the world?

Aloha nui!

Kahu Alan Akana


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“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 message by Kahu Akana, click HERE. 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.

You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To see our Sunday morning schedule, 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.

La Romieu, France