Dear Cathedral Ohana:
Yesterday morning I ran into Irina Martikainen and she told me that she had told Bryan that she found a small fish on the sidewalk and that she was a bit perplexed. He and I explained that it must’ve come from one of the white terns who dropped it as he/she was attempting to deliver it to her/his baby in one of the nests in one of our trees on Queen Emma Square. That incident was a gift to me, because I hadn’t thought of the terns in quite a while. They are so graceful when they fly around the Square and I remember one coming in and hovering right in front of Karen Ogata, Judy Masuda, and me on the day that we got the nuclear bomb scare. Somehow in that moment, I knew everything would be all right. But the thing that I most appreciate about this particular bird is that it’s faithful – it will fly up to 1000 miles away from home to catch a fish for one of its babies, then fly all the way back to the exact spot where its baby waits to be fed. And the baby waits — the same way God waits for us to return to God and be in relationship with God as a worshiping community when we come to worship God on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sunday mornings.
This has been a very busy week for the Cathedral. The Episcopal AsiaAmerica Ministries Consultation held its opening Eucharist in the Cathedral on Thursday evening at 6:00 PM, with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in attendance as the preacher. In his sermon, Bishop Curry commented on the royal wedding (where he was also the preacher) and shared how remarkable he felt it was that two people in love could draw 2 billion people to their television sets. Indeed, this speaks to the power of love in our lives. For me, the challenge is to embrace love and experience it in the midst of other distractions that may tempt me away from that notion—things like self-doubt, cynicism, defeatism, and the list goes on. It was a powerful sermon and I’ve posted it on my Facebook page as well as the Cathedral’s Facebook page. Please take a look if and when you have a chance.
On Friday evening I took in Hello Dolly at the Diamond Head Theatre, because I’d heard that Andrew Sakaguchi from the Cathedral Choir had a role. The last time I saw the Hello Dolly was at the Neil Blaisdale Center when I was in college and Carol Channing played the lead. Friday night’s performance was a great show and I highly recommend it if you can get tickets. It was also fun just to sit and take it all in, especially after such an intense evening the night before. I find that giving myself permission to have a little fun every once in a while is good for my soul and I encourage you to give yourself permission to do the same.
We had a wonderful Evensong with the choir from the Lutheran Church of Honolulu who were with us on Sunday evening. The music, including an anthem written by Todd Beckham, was extremely uplifting. In addition to providing an opportunity for transcendent worship, I was grateful for this particular Evensong as it got our numbers up to over 200 for the first time in many weeks (In 2017 we recorded an average Sunday attendance of 242. Right now it’s hovering at about 210).
Our attendance numbers are significantly down and I encourage you to make church attendance a priority – not only for the sake of increasing numbers, but more for the sake of enhancing our spiritual lives in drawing closer to God, remembering that God longs for us to be in relationship with God. I understand that there was a football game on Sunday morning where Marcus Mariota was playing and that precluded many folks from coming to church, but please know that when situations like this arise that Saturday evening is also an option. The service is light and casual and we are typically done within 30 minutes. At any rate, I invite you to ponder the importance of attending worship and taking communion and what it means for each of us in terms of our relationship with God who longs to be in relationship with us.
Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to take part in the Saint Andrew’s Schools pet blessing. This is an event that I look forward to taking part in it every year, and this year was no exception. I joined Annalise Pasalo, Sandy Graham and Jazzy Bostock and blessed fish, cats, dogs, birds, and even a stuffed animal hedgehog. I loved seeing former coworkers and former students as well as just being in the presence of all that energetic youth. It reminds me how much I enjoyed my teaching career and that in many ways, I will always be a teacher who enjoys engaging with young people. I love their openness and vulnerability and I think they have a lot to show us in terms of how to enter into a relationship with God by being open and by being vulnerable as well as by being curious about how it all works.
Please remember that we will have an opportunity for each of you to have your pets blessed at 8:00 and 10:30 this coming Sunday. Please bring your pets to church and/or a photographic representation of them. It was so cute yesterday when one little girl forgot to bring a photo of her dog, and so she drew a picture of him instead. It warmed my heart and I’m sure that feeling will come about again on Sunday when you bring your pets to be blessed.
Finally, I’d like to comment on the heat once again. Please know that Bryan and I are working very hard to address this issue and will put all options on the table for the Chapter to consider. I know how hot it has been in the sanctuary and the way that I deal with it after trying to open windows and doors and the like, is to visualize myself being with Jesus in the desert; knowing that he spent 40 days drawing closer to God and contemplating his ministry in what must’ve been extreme heat. I know, because I’ve been there – literally. It’s hot in the desert in the Holy Land and I always tell myself that if Jesus could take 40 days of that for me, I can do a Sunday morning for him. In the meantime, we continue to figure out what we might be able to do cool things off a bit.
That’s all I have for this week. Until we see each other at worship, please take care.