A Message from Our Kahu

“Expansive Gratitude” On Sunday, I shared about two recollections from my childhood. When I was quite young, I remember someone saying to me: “Why can’t you just be grateful for what you have?” I felt extremely guilty for wanting more than I had. A few years later, I wore a bracelet with the words, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” This not only increased my guilt, but I began believing that God did not want me to have desires, that desires were a bad thing, and that any desires pointed to the fact that I was ungrateful. I now believe that I can be profoundly grateful for God’s grace, the gift of life and all of the blessings I have, and at the same time want something more. This past week, I was walking along the Poipu Beach just before sunset and came across some turtles…and then some monk seals…and then saw my first whales of the season. I was overcome with gratitude to be walking in such a beautiful place and seeing such amazing creatures. However, my immediate reaction after feeling gratitude for seeing the whales was a desire to see them again, and so I stood there and looked until I did see them again—several times, in fact—and then I saw a whole other pod even further away by the horizon. I was filled with a sense of wonder and awe—and felt even more gratitude! There was absolutely nothing wrong with my desire to see more whales. I can hold both gratitude and desire at the same time. There is a kind of gratitude...

Weekly News of the Church

Thanksgiving Sunday Worship Service Sunday, November 24, 10:30 a.m. During our worship service on Thanksgiving Sunday, Kahu Akana will bring a message on “Expansive Gratitude.” There are various kinds of gratitude and different ways of being thankful. Expansive gratitude opens our hearts to others and all that is good in the world; it connects us to others, to God, and all that God has created. Let us worship God with expansive gratitude! And be sure to invite family members and friends! ________________________________________   Thanksgiving Luncheon Sunday, November 24 Aloha Hour after Church Join us for our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon during Aloha Hour after the worship service. It is a potluck, so bring something if you are able. Guests and visitors are welcome to just come and enjoy our good food and conversation. Please check in with Penny at the church office if you haven’t already signed up to bring something to share as part of the feast. And be sure to invite family members and friends! ________________________________________   Alan Akana Gallery Holiday Sale Sunday, November 24 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Alan Akana Gallery features the watercolors of Hawaii`s flowers painted by our Kahu! The gallery will host a special holiday sale on Sunday afternoon where visitors can see Kahu’s work and have the opportunity to purchase art, books, greeting cards and other products created by Kahu, including the brand new 2020 Calendar! Everything will be on sale just on time for holiday shopping, and the Smith Memorial Parsonage—home to both Kahu and the gallery—will be “decked out” for the holidays! Come and enjoy the art and some holiday treats!...

A Message from Our Kahu

“Prophetic Imagination” On Sunday, I shared with the congregation my love for Disneyland as a child—a love that remains as an adult! I still remember the feeling I had when I first visited the park around the time I was in kindergarten. I also remember the sights and sounds, as well as the tastes and smells. It is remarkable how all of the senses of an experience as a very young child can stay with me all these years later. Walt Disney was a genius when it comes to imagination. He began imagining Disneyland in the 1930’s, continued imagining through the 1940’s and 1950’s until the park opened in 1955. What impresses me the most is that he imagined a place to bring great joy and happiness to children and their families during very difficult times in our nation’s history: the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. These are times I would describe as fearful, dark, confusing and anxious. Disney did not let the overall mood of those years dictate his life or his vision. Furthermore, the impact his imagination had on the world has continued long after his death. This is the case with so many creative and imaginative people of long ago. It is certainly the case of the writers of the book of Isaiah. Look at some of the things one of them imagined some 600 years before the birth of Christ (chapter 65): New heavens and a new earth Eternal gladness and rejoicing No more tears and no more crying No more death at...

Weekly News of the Church

CHOIR REHEARSAL  Rehearsals are every Thursday, 7-8 p.m. at the church. Bring your voices and your friends. You will enjoy being part of this melodious group under the direction of Kathleen Dahill. CHURCH COUNCIL MEETING  The Church Council will meet this Sunday, November 17, at noon in Kahu’s office. COCONUT WIRELESS  Be sure to click on “Kauai Association” on the first article to see photos of Kahu Akana and Koloa Union Church members and friends! Click HERE to see the latest issue of the Coconut Wireless (the weekly e-news from the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ). LECTIONARY READINGS (Old & New Testament Readings for the Week)  Each week, Christians throughout the world read biblical passages from the Revised Common Lectionary, including the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and Gospels. After three years, a good portion of the Bible is included and the cycle begins again. RCL passages are often read in church worship services, and Kahu Akana usually includes at least one of them on the following Sunday. This week’s readings are Isaiah 65:17-25 or Isaiah 12; Malachi 4:1-3; Psalm 98; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19. COMING UP . . . . THANKSGIVING LUNCHEON  Sunday, November 24. Join us for our annual delicious Thanksgiving lunch after Sunday service. Please see the sign-up sheet on the church bulletin board so you can bring your favorite dish to add to this feast. HOLIDAY SALE AT ALAN AKANA GALLERY  The gallery will host a special holiday sale on Sunday, November 24, from 2 to 5 p.m. Come and enjoy the holiday decorations and refreshments. Everything will be on sale! Brand new 2020 calendars will be available! Click HERE...

A Message from Our Kahu

  “God of the Living” In nearly every church I visited during my sabbatical in southern Europe this past spring, I saw paintings, murals and statues of saints. Some of the pieces of art were over a thousand years old, reminding me that Christians have been honoring those who have gone before us for a very, very long time! Remembering and honoring loved ones and legends keep us connected to our past and grounded in the present. On Sunday, we read from Luke 20 that God “is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” Jesus said this to the Sadducees after mentioning Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection or the afterlife, so they asked Jesus about some of his beliefs in the particulars of heaven. Jesus’ response to them makes me think that those who die never leave us completely. Their spirits and memories remain. It also makes me think that Jesus wanted his followers to focus on the here and now. Even as we carry our beloved ones with us in our memories—and perhaps even in our conversations—when we live in the present with a firm faith that God is with us at every moment and with every breath we take, we can actually help to answer Jesus’ prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I closed my message by reading a poem written by Jan Richardson—a gifted artist, poet, author and minister—as she approached All Saints Day (November 1) after her husband Gay died:...