LENT WEEK 6: I PĀ MAI A OLA AU – “HE TOUCHED ME AND NOW I LIVE
Contributed by Monica Mata, KS Maui Christian Education Instructor
(Reflect on this devotional from Sunday, March 25 to Thursday, March 29)
*Paʻa me na kaumaha luhi
Malalo ka hewa me ka hilahila
Na ka lima o Iesū i pa mai
Ano i ola mau loa au
**Shackled by a heavy burden,
ʻNeath a load of guilt and shame,
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
Now I am no longer the same.
When I moved to Maui about fifteen years ago, my grandmother told me, “You may live on Maui now, but we’re still your family.” Accordingly, I return to Oʻahu as often as I’m able to keep in touch with my ‘ohana.
On a recent trip, I had lunch with my grandmother at a coffee shop where we regularly dine. Afterwards we attended the Keaka Kamehameha’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” to kākoʻo my niece who, along with the rest of the cast, were maikaʻi loa in their portrayal of the events in the last week of Jesus’ life.
But between the rock opera music, the chilly air conditioning, and according to the director, a “controversy that surrounds the show,” there was a concern that my 96 years old grandmother might not enjoy herself. However, when the play had ended, she was dabbing tears in her eyes and hand to her heart, she quietly said, “He touched me.”
The 6th week of Lent marks the beginning of Holy Week, where we focus on the final days of Jesus.
In Matthew 26, Jesus is at Gethsemane, where He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter, James and John, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” Yet despite His entreaty, each time Jesus returned, He found the disciples asleep. He said, “So, you could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”
Nothing touches our hearts like the atoning character of Christ’s sufferings. We see at Gethsemane, His face to the ground in anguish, His agony endured for us, as the weight of the world’s sin was upon Himself. He gave up Himself to death for us all. Yet despite the horrific nature of His sacrifice, ultimately it was an obedient act of aloha.
Ua ola loko i ke aloha.
Love gives life within.
(ʻŌlelo Noʻeau 2836)
We can enjoy life abundantly here and now, as well as claim the future promise of life eternal with Ka Makua Lani, because the gift of God is love. We can have pono pilina with Ke Akua Mana Loa, because of Iesū. But how often do we acknowledge Ke Aliʻi o nā aliʻi throughout our day? When we hear the call of that “still small voice,” do we run to Him, ma ke alo o Ke Akua, or do we hide from the presence of Adonai? Do we make it a priority to pili with Him and His ‘ohana, as poʻe keiki na Ke Akua?
*Pōmaikaʻi ke hui me Iesū
Nāna i hoʻomaʻemaʻe kuʻu ola
ʻOle pau kuʻu hoʻomaikaʻi iā ia
Hoʻōho i ka manawa pauʻole
He pā mai, e he pā mai
Piha hauʻoli o koʻu ʻuhane
Kupaianaha kaʻu i ʻike
I pā mai a ola au
**Since I met this Blessed Savior,
Since he cleansed and made me whole,
I would never cease to Praise him;
I’ll shout until eternity rolls.
He touched me, oh He touched me,
And oh, the joy that floods my soul!
Something wonderful happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.
E Ke Akua manaʻoʻiʻo, ke hoʻomaikaʻi a mahalo nei mākou iā ʻoe. Faithful God, we praise and thank You for loving us and coming to us in Jesus to reconcile the world to Yourself. May we unite our hearts with Yours as we join in Your amazing work of redeeming love. Ke pule nei mākou ma ka inoa o ko mākou Haku me ko mākou Hoʻōla o Iesū Kristo, ʻĀmene
*I Pā Mai A Ola Au
**He Touched Me by William J. Gaither
Tr. Rev. William H. Kaina, Elizabeth and David Keohohou
GOOD FRIDAY: DO YOU KNOW HIM? ‘IKE ANEI ‘OE IĀ IA?
Contributed by Ann Young, KS Kapālama Christian Education Instructor
(Reflect on this devotional from Friday, March 30 to Easter Sunday, April 1)
“Eia ke ola mau loa, i ʻike lākou iā ʻoe i ke Akua ʻoiaʻiʻo hoʻokahi, a iā Iesū ka Mesia, ka mea āu i hoʻouna mai ai.”
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
What is eternal life? I used to think that eternal life meant that after I die, I was going to live forever in heaven. But John 17:3 says that eternal life can begin right now when we know the one true God and Jesus Christ, His Son. So… what does it mean to know God?
The word “know,” in Greek, is ginōskō and it means a personal, intimate knowing. It’s not just head knowledge or information about someone or something. This knowing is relational and experiential. In ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i, this same word for know is ‘ike, which means to see, recognize, perceive, experience, and to feel in your na‘au.
For the first 20 years of my life, I knew about God, but I did not know God. I thought I was a Christian because my ‘ohana faithfully attended a UCC church. I understood that God, Jesus, and the Bible were true and I could recite John 3:16 by heart – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” When I needed help, I always prayed, but I often felt like God was up there and I was down here. I did not have a close, personal relationship with God.
In college, I was exposed to all kinds of philosophies and religions. The more I studied them, the more confused I became. Which one was true? They can’t all be true because they were all so different. During this time, I also became aware of a growing restlessness, an emptiness in my heart. I tried to fill this void with friends, busy activities, achievements, popularity, meditation, yoga, shopping, food, etc. but the emptiness continued to grow. In my desperation, I even went to Japan, to try to connect with my ancestral roots, but I returned to Hawai‘i disappointed and still empty inside.
On New Year’s Eve, I went to a prayer meeting at a home in ‘ālewa Heights. As I entered the home, the kahu looked at me and said, “God told me you were coming tonight.” Then he proceeded to share details about my life. He really got my attention when he said, “You felt close to God when you were five years old, but since then, you have walked away from Him. He did not leave you. God loves you and has been waiting for you to come back to Him.”
That night, I silently prayed to God and asked Him to forgive me for walking away from Him and for wanting my way, not His way. I knew that I wasn’t doing a good job controlling my life. I needed His help and guidance. I asked Him to come into my life, to show me how to live my life and to help me to be what He wanted me to be. As I prayed that prayer, I felt God’s love and peace come over me and in my naʻau, I knew that I was finally on the right path. That night, I began a personal relationship with the Living God and His Son, Jesus. That night, I tasted for the very first time, what eternal life is like.
During the following months, my life began to change. My desires were different. I wanted to go to church. I wanted to read the Bible and attend Bible studies. I wanted to listen to Christian music, instead of rock-n-roll. I wanted to make friends with people who loved Jesus, people who could help me grow in my pilina with Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
God was changing me from the inside out. My desires, my passions, my focus were all pointing up to Him. As I yielded more of my heart to Jesus, that ‘eha, that gnawing emptiness inside of me began to fade away. St. Augustine said, “You have made us for Yourself Oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”
During this Lenten season, especially on this Pōʻalima Hemolele (Good Friday), will you reflect on your pilina with Ke Akua? Do you really know Him? ʻIke maoli ʻoe Iā ia?
God made a way for us to know Him through the death of His Son. Sin separates us from God, like how sin separates us in our ‘ohana and other pilina. Jesus died on the cross and broke down the impenetrable wall of sin. When we repent, when we turn from our sinful selves to God and receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, we can begin a pilina with Him. Easter is all about God’s love, His unending, persistent love that calls you over and over again to come home to Him.
This is the GOSPEL. This is the GOOD NEWS. Jesus died to bring us to God and as I grow in my pilina with Ke Akua, I experience more of His eternal life. This life begins on earth and will continue until I see my Lord, face-to-face in heaven.
GOD loves us and created us to be in a relationship with Him. (John 3:16)
OUR sins separate us from God. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
SINS cannot be removed by good deeds. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
PAYING the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (1Corinthians 15:3-6)
EVERYONE who trusts in Jesus alone has eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13)
LIFE Eternal starts now with Jesus and lasts forever. (Hebrews 13:5)
E ko mākou Makua i loko o ka lani, ʻOʻoe nō ke Akua 'oia‘i‘o hoʻokahi. ʻO ʻoe ka mana a pau ma ka lani a me ka honua.
Dear Heavenly Father, You are the one true God. You have all the power in heaven and on earth. Mahalo nui loa for your amazing love that is clearly seen through the sacrifice of Your Son on the cross for us. We praise You and worship You for giving us this free gift of eternal life. Open our eyes and hearts to see and to respond to Your unending love. May You be our heart’s treasure and joy! Ma ka inoa o Kāu Keiki hiwahiwa ʻo Iesū Kristo, ʻĀmene.