Beware the Sharks (Lent) - Tuesday, March 27

lent 2018 devotions lutheran indian ministries

"Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."  
Luke 13:2-5 (ESV)


The nets used by Hawaiian fishermen to catch Opelu fish were very large. When the signal was given by the Kahu, or leader, to pull in the net, the fishermen surrounding it would haul the net up quickly and vigorously so as to not let any fish escape and be lost. The thrashing of the Opelu fish during this process would attract the tax collector of the ocean, the shark, or Mano, in Hawaiian. 

If the shark tore the net, the fish escaped and the hunt was over. The families would not be fed. Immediately, on reaching the shore, the Kahu would spread the broken and torn net into a circle on the shore and have everyone sit within it. The Kahu would lead everyone there in an Ho'oponopono, or a forgiveness session, in order to find out the cause of the misfortune. 

Everyone, without trepidation or fear, was allowed to share what was troubling them, especially if someone had dishonored or hurt them. Afterwards, all would ask for forgiveness for the hurt they had caused, whether intended or not, and they would receive that forgiveness with honihoni, kisses and hugs. The damaged net would be repaired and they would fish again, but in order for a fisherman to return to fishing, he had to have participated. 

Their response to suffering was to gather and examine the community for wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness.

 Dr. Luther contended with issues of suffering and wrote, “the wounded and suffering Christ interceded for all sinners, averts God’s wrath from us, and grants us His righteousness…when the Lord looks upon the battered face of His Son, He hears Christ’s pleas on our behalf” (AE 31:64).  When trials come, do not blame God. Repent. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. And our joy, in suffering or not, is God’s grace through Jesus and the promise of an eternal joy.

My Father and my God, keep me safe from the devil and my own temptation, so I may always faithful to you…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.

Vicar Clarence de Lude (Native Hawaiian)
Makaha, Hawaii