December 5, 2022
Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 CEB
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
One of my favorite people in the world is with Jesus in paradise today. Auntie Jane lived a full life (107 years). Her presence in the congregation I pastored was powerfully positive in the manner of a leader as servant. She modeled service, love, compassion, and faithfulness. She had a quiet faith. She was a woman of prayer, who put feet on her prayers through actions. I’d find her on a step stool in the church kitchen cleaning out cabinets, and scold her, not that it did any good. I’d spot her walking to the Food Bank at the Catholic Church around the block from our church, carrying baskets filled with canned goods. Offering my help was a blessing to me since I had the chance to walk a bit with her.
I was blessed to be her kahu (Hawaiian for shepherd/pastor) and honored to be considered her friend. Truth be told, in many ways she was my shepherd, supporting me with prayers and kindness, and caring for me as a friend.
I spent a delightful hour with her last January when we were in Hawaii. Before I left, her daughter Ann reminded her that it might be the last time we’d see each other this side of heaven. She was right. I imagine her in heaven, being welcomed by Jesus and a whole host of family and friends. I am joyful that she is with Jesus, so honored to have been considered her kahu and friend, and so sad that I will need to wait, only God knows how long, until we meet again.
The refrain of an old hymn, “When We All Get to Heaven” comes to mind:
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be.
When we all see Jesus,
we’ll sing and shout the victory.
In Hawaii, we don’t say goodbye. We say a hui hou (until we meet again).
A hui hou, Jane
Mahalo Ke Akua. Aloha nui loa. (Thank you, God. Love you very much.) ~ Anne