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Weekly devotional: Responding to unrest with aloha

Sept. 4, 2020

  • KS Maui Kahu Kalani Wong KSK’74

Ka Ipu o Lono shares weekly devotionals to provide spiritual enrichment to members of the Kamehameha Schools ‘ohana. For more inspiration, visit the KS “Our faith” website.


Heluhelu Baibala

Akā, e ʻimi ʻē ʻoukou ma mua i ke aupuni o ke Akua a me kāna pono, a e pau ua mau mea lā i ka hāʻawi ʻia mai iā ʻoukou.
- Mataio 6:33


But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Matthew 6:3


He manaʻo o ke kahu

We live in a difficult time. Turn on the television, open the newspaper, listen to the news and you will come across stories of unrest – political, social, physical unrest, tearing this world apart. How can we find peace in the midst of this unrest?

Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarch, faced great unrest and political upheaval in her life. On this, the 182nd anniversary of the birth of our Queen, let us look at her life to see what we can learn.

Over the last couple of days, I kept running across a statement that seemed to express our queen’s heart, her thinking, and serves as a guide for our own lives. She shared these words with her niece ten months before her death:

“I could not turn back the time for the political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail. The way to lose any earthly kingdom is to be inflexible, intolerant and prejudicial. Another way is to be too flexible, tolerant of too many wrongs and without judgment at all. It is a razor’s edge. It is the width of a blade of pili grass. To gain the kingdom of heaven is to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable, that is Aloha. All things in this world are two; in heaven there is but one.”

Liliʻuokalani lifted up a challenge that all of us face. How do we deal with conflict, when two sides cannot agree? The difference between the ways we respond is a razor’s edge, the width of pili grass. To choose one would be so difficult, humanly. But, she lifted up a more excellent way, the way of aloha. By responding in aloha, we put aside MY way or YOUR way, to seek OUR way, to seek what would be good for all. This requires us to e ʻimi ʻē ʻoukou ma mua i ke aupuni o ke Akua a me kāna pono (seek first His kingdom and His righteousness). By doing so, we begin to glimpse the unknowable, through aloha i kekahi i kekahi (loving one another).

We may not be able to do it for the world just yet, but we can show aloha with one other person. If we can do that, then maybe we can do the same with our ‘ohana, then our kula (school), then our kauhale (community), then our moku (island), and so on.

How sweet that would be, for in that moment, in that time, there would be no unrest, no discord, just pure aloha. Let us follow the example of our beloved Liliʻuokalani and e ʻimi ʻē ʻoukou ma mua i ke aupuni o ke Akua a me kāna pono (seek first His kingdom and His righteousness) and may we never cease to act because we fear we may fail.

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