Weekly Message from T. J.

Seeing it Coming

The boos from the gathered crowd started slowly. They were only scattered. And there was also applause. Somehow laughter was starting to roll through, too. No one was sure what to make of the situation. We had all seen it coming. It only took some foresight to see it might be a problem. But it was only when the time came, when the exact moment presented itself, that the crowd let it be known how they were feeling about what was taking place. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re going to do until we are forced to act. But this I know: blocking a sunset ought to be a crime.

See, I was part of a crowd about a week ago sitting there at Kaimana Beach. And we were watching two tugboats guide a Young Brothers barge across the horizon, carrying shipping containers packed seven or so high into the air. We saw the tugs coming, we saw the barge following, and right at the moment the sun was going to set over the horizon, right at the moment we all wanted to see the “green flash,” the barge pulled in to block the entire beach’s view of the sunset. And the reactions from the crowd on the beach were kind of hilarious.

My friend had sort of predicted it. He saw the vessel coming and wondered if this would happen. So when it did, I booed the barge. He laughed. Others applauded. But no matter how you responded, the feeling on the beach was that we’d all witnessed something uncommon and not everyone was sure how to react.

I think a lot of us are feeling that way right now. Visions of people invading a capitol and the deadly impact of the invasion leave many with the sense that what they are seeing might not even be real. This combination of two things we are so used to seeing–angered crowds and the U.S. Capitol building–are suddenly and violently coming together in a scene nobody has ever seen before, colliding in a way that for many was unthinkable and yet for some was inevitable. The vision of this collision is etched in the minds of many, and will be for a long time.

People of faith are a people of vision. We gather together in different ways, in different times, to wonder at what we might uncover of the truth that unites us. Sometimes we seek to sit and watch a revolution of the sapphire swathed earth that makes the sun seem to set before our very eyes, only to have the vision we hoped to see blotted out, blocked, and booed. Other times our vision might see beyond the barge passing, and we can remember all of the setting suns we’ve known before, rest our hope in those suns to come, and bear the passing of what seeks to obscure the truth we know. And then there are times we yell, “boo” like a child at something over which we have no control at all, just because it feels good. But our friends are still there by our side, laughing with us, or maybe at us, until it passes, until we can see clearly once more.

And may it ever be so.

Rev. T. J.

2 Responses to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. That makes me laugh, I can just imagine the scene! Kaimana Beach is a childhood friend, and I see those same barges now at Ala Moana Beach. Thank you for the reassurance that what we’re feeling — uncertainty, disgust, fear — over something that was both shocking and not surprising, will pass. For sure our loving connections are more important than ever, and this is a good reminder of that. 🙂

  2. I love seeing the green flash right at sunset.

    BUT, the attack on the Capitol. Who could believe something like this would happen. Death, destruction of a historic building……..encouraged by our president. I don’t think we can ever forget the images seen on TV. How were these people raised? There was even a judge’s son who took part? How could these people believe Trump’s lies?

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