Churches Hold Worship Night for Lahaina
Contributed by Lynne Balatico Agbalog, Moanalua Community Church
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). This verse was in the forefront of my mind as we attended Worship Night for Lahaina. This was a coming together of different churches and denominations for one common cause, to worship and lift in prayer our brothers and sisters who were affected by the devastating fires in Lahaina. Galatians 6:2 commands us to carry each other’s burdens and pray for each other’s hurts. This was the least we could do being so far away.
Filipino UCC’s (FUCC) hula ministry set the tone for the worship with their hula to “Come Just as You Are.” An invitation to come in, relax in the presence of God and in fellowship with one another. Brethren of Christ’s halau danced to “Majestic is Your Name.” The songs offered by the choirs were so uplifting and the voices so full! “People Need the Lord” (FUCC), “Holy Forever” and “The Prayer” (Moanalua Community Church). Certainly, the choirs of angels were in attendance during this worship.
Kahu Rennie Mau (Ewa Community Church) gave a testimony of his visit to Maui. He reported on how the different churches opened their community halls and sanctuaries to host those made houseless by the fire. Feeding and housing the relief workers and people opening their homes to complete strangers! These are stories we don’t hear in the media but our churches are there, bringing to life and living Galatians 6:2!
The beautiful youthful voices from Fil-Am Mililani Baptist and Waipahu Community Church sang “Believe for It” and “Living Hope.” At the singing of “Living Hope,” those in attendance were invited to split up in groups to pray for the people still missing and unaccounted for in the fires. The group dispersed into several praying teams, hands raised, and arms outstretched towards the list of names pasted on the walls at various areas of the sanctuary. Amid the music, you could hear the fervent prayers being lifted for those names. It was a chicken skin moment for me! As the song faded and the prayers subsided, the people returned to their seats.
The offertory song, “Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos” (translation: Is God Sleeping) was beautifully sung by Abigail Sales (FUCC) and we were invited to come forward and place our offerings for Lahaina at the altar. Offerings will be donated to the Hawai‘i Conference Wildfires Relief Fund. The worship ended upbeat with the youth of FUCC presenting an original rap to the text of Psalm 23. A fitting reassurance that through whatever valley we are going through at the moment, God is there experiencing it with us and leading us through.
Of course, the night was made complete by fellowship over food and the joyful noise of young people playing volleyball, long time friends and new friends “wala au-ing” (talking story) with one another. There was no rush to go home, we just hung out until 10:30 p.m.! We all talked about how nice it was to be fellowshipping with one another like long time friends seeing each other after a long absence, there were even talks of getting together quarterly rotating host churches.
Overall, the Holy Spirit was present in this gathering. In our voices lifted in song He was there, in the gracefulness of the dancing He was there, in our prayerful lament we felt His comfort. As Christians we came together to lift up the burdens of our beloved Lahaina as they rise from the ashes.
Thank you Filipino UCC and Phebe Amodo for hosting and organizing this event and giving us an opportunity to live Galatians 6:2.
All photos and videos courtesy of Filipino UCC and Kahu Rennie Mau via Facebook
A limited quantity of Lahaina Strong t-shirts are still available for $20 with all net proceeds from shirt sales going to the wildfires relief fund. If you are interested in purchasing a shirt, you may contact Filipino UCC, email@example.com.