Kapiolani’s Defiance of Pele - Monday, December 4
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary:
for thou hast found favour with God.”
Luke 1:30 (KJV)
As Mary had concerns and fears, so did Kapiolani, a high chiefess of Hawaii. Here is her story.
As we know today, a sign of a great leader is one who walks the talk and leads by example. Kapiolani was just that, a great, new Christian leader of her people.
In the year 1824, Kapiolani took a journey of nearly a hundred miles on foot on the trails to the great crater of Kilauea volcano. This was the home of the goddess of the volcano, the much feared “Pele.”
Many of Kapiolani’s people, though converts to the new religion, begged her not to approach Pele, which was seen as an act of defiance. Along the route, a frightened and terrified priestess warned Kapiolani of the disasters that would befall the people from angering the wrathful Pele.
Undiminished by the threat of an angry god, the Christian Chiefess Kapiolani continued along the route, singing the hymn, “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” as a way to express her convictions in her new faith.
Guide me, O Thou, great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
When she reached the crater and descended alone, Kapiolani shouted, “I worship Jehovah. He kindled these fires. I fear not Pele!” Then she knelt, prayed, and sang more hymns to the true God.
Thus began, for the Hawaiian people, the proof that Pele and the other gods were not to be feared. As the story was told of Kapiolani’s defiance of Pele throughout the Hawaiian islands, many more of our people came to hear and believe the Gospel story of Jesus and the one true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We in Lutheran Indian Ministries rejoice as we await the birth of Jesus and fear not, just as Mary was told, because we, too, find favor with God through His gift of the Christ Child.
Father in heaven, may we continue to "fear not" when bringing tidings of great joy about our all-conquering Savior. In His name, we pray. Amen.