Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina i ka Pono – the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness
Adopted as the state motto in 1959, these wise words “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” date back to King Kamehameha III in a speech given at Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu following the return of the kingdom to the Hawaiians from the British in 1843.
“Pono” is a great word. It’s one of those words which just by saying it, everyone knows what you mean. PONO – “that which is right, to act rightly or in righteousness, with honor, morality, justice, virtue, goodness.” And by virtue of these things, things are kept in balance, thus, “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteoussness” – in other words, without righteousness the life of the land cannot be sustained.
I bring this up today because of recent decisions by the elected officials of this great and beautiful state. As a transplant from Colorado over ten years ago, I have come to love the people and the state deeply and the issues that face the state have become near and dear to me. For myself and many others, the beauty of the islands, its history and the spirit of the people here is something special and unique; almost tangible. Truly God has poured out his blessing on these islands. Centered at the crossroads of the Pacific, Hawaii by God’s design, has become strategically and spiritually important not only to the peoples of this great state, but, to the peoples of the entire Pacific rim.
It’s thought that the first immigrants to the islands arrived by canoe from the Marquesas in the southern Pacific in approximately 400 AD. With a religious system that centered on nature and idol worship, human sacrifice, fear and bondage, the islands of Hawaii would remain in spiritual darkness until the arrival of the first Christian missionaries from England on the ship Thaddeus on April 4, 1820. It was by the arrival of fourteen men and women (seven couples) that God would begin to re-shape the people and culture of the island bringing an end to the Kapu system of worship by the love and message of Jesus Christ.
The faith and devotion of these early Christians is still visible today in the heritage they left and in the words on the stones that mark some of their graves in the small cemetary behind Kawaiahao church and next to the Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu. *For those of you who might find it of interest, you can read through a compilation of these markers, many of which contain scripture and interesting information regarding the people who are buried there at this website – http://files.usgwarchives.net/hi/honolulu/cemeteries/mission.txt
This past week, the Hawaii State Senate became the first in the nation to abolish prayer before the opening of its legislative sessions. I guess in their collective wisdom, Hawaii is no longer in need of God’s blessing or guidance. A decision which is in my opinion is decidedly not pono. And, who also (the State Senate) moved recently to push forward a bill to approve civil unions in the state of Hawaii overturning the will of the people, who when put to a vote, overwhelmingly voted in favor of traditional marriage and family. Another act, which in my opinion was decidedly not pono.
According to wikipedia, the name Thaddeus means “braveheart” – an appropriate name for the vessel which first brought the good news of Jesus Christ to the islands via fourteen brave men and women who sacrificed everything to bring hope and light to a people walking in darkness in the uttermost parts of the earth. And, for all the supposed good intentions of the current elected officials of this great state, what they have done in reality is betrayed the trust and heritage of the people of the islands they represent by failing to keep the state motto; by failing to act in righteousness – to act pono.
There is a verse in Revelation which states that in the last days all the islands will be removed from their places (Revelation 6:14). Might the decision of Hawaii’s leadership at this crucial juncture in history contribute to this mighty judgment from God? I don’t know – but, what I do know is this – with a braveheart God is calling all of us, wherever we live, to live pono – to live and act in righteoussness, to be holy as He is holy and to be salt and light in a world that is becoming increasingly dark.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6 Waiting and watching with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy