Weekly Message from T. J.

Hands Up Winner

This week we bring September to a close. I know, it’s hard to wrap our head around that fully. And with it we bring to a close our month in worship and in other ways of looking at the spiritual theme of “Promises.” The promises we make are a large part of the ways we relate to the loved ones in our lives. They are also the currency by which communities can grow and function, relying on the fulfillment and the making of them, like so many building blocks.

Many of us who are used to communities built on shared understanding and promises had a hard night last night. I confess I did not watch what I thought always was laughingly referred to as a debate. I devoted myself to connecting with others in meaningful ways, including hosting the Nu’uanu Valley Interfaith Thanksgiving Service planning committee during the last half hour of the thing referred to as a debate. Oh, and I’ll tell you, friends, we had some good debates in the meeting: “should we record the arm movements of the hula beforehand to send out to everyone or should we teach it during the service?” That was a tough battle.

And the yelling fest yesterday is not the only thing bothering so many of us. It hurt my heart to hear people explain that they had to listen to it super low and cover half of the screen so as not to see an offending person and personality. My hunch is that all over the country lots of people were doing that in their own ways. It only differed by which side of the screen was covered. Divisions over just about everything keep popping up on social media, from the mouths of purported leaders, and maybe in our own minds.

But there are more pressing matters at hand, as I learned in the planning meeting. We have to pick enough kukui nuts to create the effects we need for this year’s service, we have a lot of video editing to do, we need to make sure we bring together the amazing community partners who serve the people of Nu’uanu and beyond so well. There is so much work to be done before Thanksgiving for our committee that there’s hardly time to worry about what’s going on on television.

Over the course of the month, I know I said at least once, that the most important promises we keep are those we make to ourselves. Yes, we will let ourselves down from time to time. But when we keep the promises we make to ourselves, that is the definition of integrity. Even looking at your hand over the screen, and no matter how low the volume might go, the examples of integrity that matter most are rarely on television. Instead look at the hand harvesting kukui nuts for Thanksgiving, the hand in silent applause at an inspired idea or moment, that hand that learns how to move through the air in dancing praise, with hundreds more, to bless a day of Thanksgiving, and to keep close the promise of that day.

And may it ever be so.
Rev. T. J.

One Response to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. Once again, T.J. you manage to marry light lovely community conversation with deep spiritual guidance. It is always a joy to read your missives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.