"" Writer's Wanderings: A Hawaiian Welcome

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Hawaiian Welcome

While we were in Hawaii, we visited three different churches, two in Lahaina on Maui, and one in Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. I was amazed at how many visitors there were and at how welcomed all were made to feel. Each church passed out leis to the visitors and each lei was unique--fresh flowere, shells, and braided ribbon. But gifts aside, the greatest gift was being sought out and welcomed by pastors and members. They truly grasp the idea of the "family" of God.

I would like to think this is the norm for all churches but as I have recently visited churches in my own hometown, I've found that visitors are often left to their own coming and going. I've even directly approached pastors in receiving lines after services and never been asked my name.

Perhaps it's cultural. Hawaii does have a Polynesian background. Maybe it has something to do with a warmer climate and cool sea breezes rather than snow and ice. It is definitely not denominational. I have visited several different denominations both here at home and in Hawaii.

Shame on us who don't make our visitors to our church homes feel welcomed and loved. And kudos to the Hawaiians for their Christian hospitality and caring enough to welcome strangers into their midst. After all, Paul said, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2 NIV)

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