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Weekly devotional: The earth is the Lord’s

Nov. 5, 2021

  • 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
No Iēhova ka honua a me kona mea e piha ai;
ʻO ke ao nei, a me ka poʻe e noho ana ma loko ona.
No ka mea, nāna nō ia i hoʻokumu ma luna iho o nā kai,
A i hoʻopaʻa hoʻi ma luna iho o nā wai.
– Nā Halelū 24:1-2

The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the floods.
– Psalm 24:1-2

He manaʻo o ke kahu
Have you ever noticed that native people seem to have a closer connection to the ‘āina? Deb Haaland is the US Secretary of the Interior and the first Native American to serve as cabinet secretary. What a great choice. As a native person, she’ll have a close connection, and a deep commitment, to ensuring that the natural beauty of our nation is properly taken care of. She states, “Everything depends on our ability to sustainably inhabit this earth, and true sustainability will require us all to change our way of thinking on how we take from the earth and how we give back.”

For the ‘āina to survive, we need to not just take, but also give back. We need to stop being consumers who just use what is there and then throw it away, to producers who will breathe life into the ‘āina. When our ancestors cared for the ‘āina, it was always about putting back in as much, or more, than what we took out. They knew to leave things better than when they got it. To further encourage us to do what is pono, just think about who this honua belongs to. Nā Halelū 24 (Psalm 24) reminds us, “The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof.” This is ke Akua’s. He made it and we are called to be stewards of it – to care for it and everything on it. As stewards, we would be caring for it the same manner that the owner would.

As we celebrate November as Native American Heritage Month, let us think like native people, people who have a close tie to this land, who would honor our kuleana to aloha i ka ʻāina, to hoʻopiha i ka honua. We have followed our own personal interests in the past and sought to do the easy things at the price of the planet. That hasn’t always worked out so well. So, let us “sustainably inhabit this earth…and change our way of thinking on how we take from the earth and how we give back,” so our children’s grandchildren will be able to enjoy it.

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