A Message from Kahu Akana

“Embracing Mystery”

We celebrated “Trinity Sunday” this week in church as I shared more about my sabbatical in Europe. I talked about one of my favorite pieces of art which I saw in Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Paris called “Christ in Majesty” (the photo above). It is one of the largest mosaics in the world and probably the largest mosaic of Jesus. It is in the dome above the altar and the first thing you see when you walk in the front door of the church—and it is MASSIVE! It literally took my breath away! I felt that Jesus with his outstretched arms was saying to me, “You are welcome here. Come on in. I love you exactly as you are. There is nothing that can come between us.” The art affected me so deeply that I found it difficult to leave!

What I didn’t realize at all from the front door of the church was that the image of Jesus was part of a larger mosaic of the Holy Trinity. You can see the dove, representing the Holy Spirit, directly above Jesus’ head, but you have to walk down one of the aisles toward the altar to see the image of God the Creator (or Father). It is truly an awesome work of art: in my opinion, one of the great masterpieces of all time. However, it occurred to me that the average visitor to the basilica never gets to see the entire mosaic. You can see all of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but there was no place I could stand and see all of the Trinity at once. (I wondered if the priests who stand at the altar get that full vision, but I will never know!) It reminded me that we never get to see all of God. As much as God might choose to reveal God’s self to us and as much as we might pray and read the Bible, we never see all of God, for God will always be a mystery to us in many ways—and that should humble us when we encounter people who see God differently than we do.

I also shared with the congregation that in our passage from John’s Gospel that morning (chapter 16, verses 12-15), Jesus speaks of “the Father,” “the Spirit,” and us! Jesus told his disciples that the Father shares everything with him and the Spirit takes it from Jesus and shares it with us. It is clear to me from the context (chapters 12-17) that Jesus is focussed on love, peace and joy. Just imagine: all of the love, peace and joy of God is available to us. Imagine if we asked for it…and received it…and shared it with others. Just as God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit share everything with one another, they also share everything with us, and we are able to share all that God gives us with others.

These thoughts bring me great hope, not only for my own life but for the entire world. I hope they bring great hope to you as well!

Aloha nui!

Kahu

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“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.