Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hawaiian ironies

While on vacation in Hawaii, I was struck by at least three ironies:

Irony #1: "Aloha" can mean either hello or goodbye. And believe me, Hawaiians really do say it - all the time - earning Hawaii the title of "the Aloha State." Besides hello and goodbye, "aloha" can mean love, mercy, and affection. We found that it can even refer to the "aloha spirit" of hospitality and unconditional love. So it's really a beautiful concept, right in line with Biblical injunctions to love and care for others.

Irony #2: As I've mentioned already, we sailed around the Hawaiian Islands on a cruise ship, the Pride of Hawaii. There were over 2,000 passengers on board. It seemed like half of them were complaining about something. Either the food was bad, or the service too slow, or the staterooms too small, or the seas too rough, or something else. Yet the whole time, all around us, was this incredible beauty and luxury. It made me think of the people of Israel on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. God had done so much for them, but again and again they complained about what they didn't have. It also reminded me of what Paul tells us about unregenerate people in Romans 1:21 -

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."

God forgive me for the times I have been ungrateful and discontent, when you have done nothing but supply my needs, throughout my lifetime, far beyond what I deserve.

Irony #3: Throughout the cruise, as we sailed past the beautiful islands of Hawaii, the cruise director would announce over the loudspeaker something else that "Mother Nature" had done. For example, when we sailed past the Na Pali coast on Kauai - which is just extraordinary - we saw a full double rainbow, and behind it the striking cliffs and waterfalls of Na Pali, waves crashing into the vertical cliff walls, clouds shrouding the peaks of the mountains. I hummed "All Creatures of Our God and King." The cruise director came on and gave tribute to Mother Nature. Isn't it ironic that people are willing to grant to "nature" the power of creativity and personality (and even gender), but are not willing to embrace a personal, loving, Creator God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ?


rob said...

I bet that Beatles song in Hawaiian is confusing..."you say aloha, and I say aloha. Aloha Aloha. You say aloha, and I say aloha..."

Matt said...

I think Hawaii is my kind of place... I don't need to remember whether im coming or going!