Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:39-45 NIV)
Thomas Hopu was a Hawaiian who, during the war of 1812, was taken four times by the British and imprisoned for several months on St. Kitts in the West Indies. After his release, he saved fellow sailors with his sailing and swimming prowess and is remembered for his many heroic deeds. Later, he was recaptured by the British and imprisoned once again, this time in Bermuda. After his naval experiences, in 1815, he joined Obookiah, (often credited as the first Hawaiian Christian), in studying for the ministry at the Foreign Mission School until they left for Hawaii in October 1819.
These young Hawaiian men were instrumental in teaching the missionaries about the language and culture of the Hawaiians, in order to return to Hawaii and share the joy of knowing Jesus Christ with their people. They were also involved in the translation from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures to the first Hawaiian Bible, which was joyously received by the queen regent Kaahumanu and the King Kamehameha II. In Hawaii, Thomas Hopu translated sermons, alongside the missionary pastors, into Hawaiian during the services. He later would give his own sermons in Hawaiian.
Thomas Hopu was also the first to experience a Christian wedding in Hawaii when he married his wife, Delia, a Maui Native; and to perform a missionary funeral service in Hawaii for his 80-year-old father who had been saved only years before.
Similarly, the very first recorded leap of joy at the coming of our Messiah was John the Baptist. “He leaped with Joy,” his mother Elizabeth proclaimed when her unborn baby made his excitement known. Amazing! Christ was still inside his Mother Mary and still the specialness of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was acknowledged and experienced by another unborn infant!
When was the last time you leaped for joy at the coming Christ? Where have you experienced Christian joy in your life? Where have you brought Joy about our Lord to others recently?
E Ke Akua ka mahalo ha’aha’a nei makou ia ‘oe no kou pomaika’i I kau kokua ‘ana, O God, we humbly thank you for your goodness in aiding us, the brave missionaries, pastors and laypeople, who serve around the world to bring the Joy of the Messiah Jesus Christ, and especially those who serve and are dedicated to share Christ’s joy to our First Nation people of America through LIM and to those who support this mission with their prayers and gifts. Ma ka inoa o Iesu Kristo, In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Vicar Clarence De Lude (Native Hawaiian), Oahu, Hawaii