The Stewardship of Island Hospitality & Aloha Spirit
Twenty-four hours ago I was a reluctant passenger winding my way along the glorious Oahu coastline. My destination - the Honolulu International Airport for my return flight to Los Angeles. While joy normally surrounds my “coming home” from most trips, returning from Hawaii elicits a whole different emotion. Saying goodbye to the island hospitality is always a challenge. From the cool coastal breezes, the gentle sway of the palms, the fragrant smell of the Hibiscus, or the rhythmic sounds of a slack-key guitar, Hawaii offers refreshment to all who grace its soil. All are greeted with the gift of Aloha. It is a continuous gift, from the moment you step off the plane, to that last glimpse of a crashing wave.
Aloha is more than just a word; it's a way of life. The Aloha Spirit transcends definition, it just is. You can taste it in the sharing of a warm Malasadas, you can see it in the subtle rainbows nestled behind gentle showers, and believe it or not, you can even trust it in midst of freeway traffic. Nowhere else on this globe have I traveled, where freeway traffic slows down to welcome you aboard! This is the gift of Aloha Spirit. A gift, I am reminded of whenever I visit my island family. A gift, I attempt to make part of my “coming home”, each time I return from the islands.
As Church, we have much to learn from the Aloha Spirit of our Island brothers and sisters. One early teaching of Aloha Spirit that was shared with children goes like this:
Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me.
When there is pain – it is my pain.
When there is joy – it is also mine.
I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me.
I will not willfully harm anyone or anything.
When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken.
The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect.
This is Hawaiian – this is Aloha!
As these words rolled off my tongue, I could not imagine a more passionate stewardship teaching. What if all children were taught Aloha Spirit? What if all congregations embraced its meaning? After all, is this not what the gift of Christianity is all about? David Bray, a local Kahuna, or Hawaiian shaman, reminded me of this when he shared that to the Hawaiian of old, Aloha meant “God in us.”
Eighteen hours ago, as my plane approached the City of Angels, I glanced out my window and as I viewed my home below, I smiled a joyful prayer of aloha. It was good to be home once again. May God’s Aloha Spirit be with you all!
Celebrating a Culture of Gratitude and Generosity in our Region and beyond!!
-DanO (Oliver) - Your PSWR Minister of Stewardship and Giving