Mahalo Ke Akua #wisdomwednesday - Today's @mahalo_keakua Post September 24, 2014 12:01
I know many people who are incredibly faithful and live pono every day, but do not go to a place of worship because they’ve been turned off by some institutions that don’t practice what they preach, or don’t spread messages of aloha or love… for a long time I felt the same way, had some negative church experiences, so found it better to connect with Akua through nature, or in the ocean, and that was what I considered “my church”.
My makuahine lives in Toronto Canada, and on one visit, I was touched by her church community – first, by the importance they placed on music, but what most surprised and touched me was the sermon which emphasized the importance of not judging others, and being welcoming to all people, even those who may be rejected by other church communities – this struck me because it opposed an image that I had about “the church” or certain religious institutions/communities. On following visits, I continued to be impressed with the sermons there that emphasized the values of love, forgiveness, unity and having a positive influence on others.
Since I travel frequently, my makuahine encouraged me to visit a different church on each trip – apparently there’s lore that says you should make a wish when you enter a new church, but looking back I realize that she wanted me to see that there are positive church communities out there, and some of the most enriching lessons and insights I’ve been blessed with have come from these travelling church visits!
On “Wisdom Wednesdays” I’ll try to share these inspiring nuggets of faith that align with Mahalo Ke Akua Brand.
A perfect example came from this past weekend, on a trip to Arizona – on Sunday morning I Googled the closest church to my hotel and ended up at ASU Arizona State University – it always interests me to see young adults celebrating their faith together.
During the sermon, the Priest told a story about a realtor couple he knew about 20 years ago. The wife was more successful than her husband, and one day she was accused of wrongdoing by the board, instead of standing behind her, her husband recused himself. He figured if she lost her license, he was successful enough that he could support their lifestyle, and he would then be seen as the provider. The wife was cleared of the accusations, but the personal damage had been done, the display of envy and pride eventually destroyed their marriage.
The Priest used this story as an example to explain that envy is truly damaging to our relationships with one another. He reminded us to rejoice with those who rejoice, because when we see others receive a blessings, we should know that there are many more blessings where that came from. The Priest then spoke about his upbringing in San Diego California, and how he would sit by the harbor and watch the boats, and when the tide would come in, all the boats would rise up together. He used this as an analogy for blessings, when God’s grace touches one, it touches all.
I just remember thinking, “one love, that’s unity” – and then I thought about that moment years ago when my makuahine told me to make a wish every time I entered a new church. After that sermon, I felt like “making a wish” was a selfish act… So instead of making a wish for me, I said a prayer for humanity – that we may all succeed in accomplishing unity – together.