Today’s ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word is ‘Āina, and it means “the land.” Aloha ‘Āina (love of the land) is a powerful core value for the people of Hawaiʻi. Here, there is a deep connection between the land and the people. In fact, the state motto is Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono. This motto is commonly translated as “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
Those of you who follow my blog know how rich the Hawaiian language is. So, you know each word can have many different translations depending on the context of the situation. Ea is translated life, but it can also mean breath and even sovereignty. Mau, translated here as perpetuated, implies an unending, even eternal, process. Of course, I wrote about Pono several days ago. We translate Pono as right behavior, righteousness, goodness, hope, caring, a spirit of excellence or fairness and so on. When I think of the motto I am reminded of today’s Scripture.
‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine;
for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” ~ Leviticus 25:23
All ʻĀina Belongs to Akua
God makes it clear in this passage that all land belongs to Him, the Creator of all things. The Hawaiian perspective that the ʻāina cannot be “owned” but instead it to simply be cared for as stewards fits right in with a Biblical understanding of stewardship. In our modern world, we tend to spend a lot of time indoors and, most of us, forget what it is like to go commune with the ʻāina. In my time here in Hawaiʻi I have rediscovered the joy of spending time in God’s creation.
In Awe of the Creation of Our Creator
My wife, Annette, and I love to stand and watch the creative force of lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano into the Pacific Ocean. Our God is still creating, making even more ʻāina for the Big Island. Annette and I travel around, visiting the islands, and we are constantly amazed by the wonderful variety God has designed into the lands here. Each island has it’s own unique design, flavor and appeal.
Just standing and looking out across any section of the ʻāina of our various islands is a spiritual experience of connecting with our Creator. From the mars-like lava desert here on the leeward side of the Big Island to the jungle like rain forest on the windward side it is clear our God is a wonderfully creative Creator!
Our Awesome ʻĀina
We love standing on the summit of Mauna Kea, almost 14,000 feet high, and take in an amazing view of the sunset that you just can’t find anywhere else on earth and we are always awed into silence. We then stick around for the life-size planetarium view of the heavens at the Vistor’s Center and the stars are so numerous they overlap in the sky. On a clear night we can see a surreal view of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Often we stand on one of our many beaches to watch the sunset. It is thrilling to see Honu Turtles, Manta Rays and Spinner Dolphins playing the waters. In the winter months the Humpback Whales come to play and breed in the waters between here and Maui. Watching them leap into the air in celebration of their new births in the family is a blast. We also love to go snorkeling in the many bays around the island. As we view the schools of thousands of many different colors and species of fish swimming all around us it is clear. Akua certainly loves variety!
This ʻĀina Is Not Our True Home
As mind-blowingly gorgeous as the Hawaiian Islands are, our God reminds us in today’s Scripture, we are just aliens and sojourners here. This earth is not our true home! As beautiful as it is, we don’t want to get too attached to it. The ʻāina does not belong to us. It belongs to Akua and we are merely His stewards. We call this place paradise and we bask in it’s beauty every day! However, it’s beauty really just serves as a reminder to me that the ultimate Paradise is going to be far more beautiful! One day God will create NEW heavens and a NEW ʻāina! The new ones will make the current ones we have pale in comparison. I hope you are as excited as I am to see our true home one day.
I’ll give everything I’ve got to help you become
everything that God has called and created you to be!
Aloha! (I share my life’s breath with you!)
~~ Pastor G ~~