The Kukui or Candlenut tree is our state tree, and we can thank its ubiquitous existence to the early Polynesian wayfinders who settled the Hawaiian Islands. Our kupuna teach us that this tree has many uses among them: As medicine- flowers and leaves could be used to treat sores on the skin and mouth; As a food item- the roasted nut made “inamona” and added flavor to foods, a little too much and one would discover another medicinal use in treating constipation; And as a light source- we cannot forget that it is called the Candlenut tree afterall.
The kukui thus symbolizes healing, nourishment, and light.
As we gather this morning even as our neighbor islands are recovering from Hurricane Lane and Tropical storm Olivia the East Coast of the Continental US is reeling in the devastation of Hurricane Florence. Also, marking 17 years ago this past week, the events of September 11, 2001 have left an indelible mark- not only in history, but in the psyche of people across the globe. So much is different about how we look at the world and who we are as people.
These events remind us that we are a global community- each of us a part of the human family. In the aftermath of disaster, whether caused by nature or human intervention, there is healing, nourishment, and light. There will always be- because deep down we know the human connections are the ones that matter. The word "Aloha" connects us back to the "Ha" (Hawaiian for breath) and therefore to the very breath of our being. It speaks who we are and who we are called to be in our shared humanity as servants to one another and to the communities in which we live and work. Our task as a community of faith and as individual Christians is to heal the brokenness in our communities; nourish it with aloha and compassion, and fill them with the light of goodness and hope.
Where ever we live and work, we cannot forget how connected we are and how we need to create communities of healing, nourishment, and light. May the kukui that grows from Mauka to Makai ever remind us of this call.
Our St. Timothy's Kukui are located on the Mauka (mountain) side of the church.
The Rev'd Daniel Leatherman (Fr. Dan aka Techpadre) has been Priest in Charge of St Timothy's Episcopal Church since the summer of 2018. Though curious about the intersection of faith and technology, he has an active interest in the intersection of Hawaiian values, liturgy, and faith formation.