We are Beautifully and Wonderfully Made
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
I can still remember administering a standardized test in my classroom and having my students filling out the obligatory student information sheet with their full name, address, gender, and then it came to race. “Fill in the bubble next to your race.” Many of my students looked at me, baffled, for so many could not answer. They did not know if they were Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian, German, English, or French! I was shocked and assigned for homework that they ask their parents what ethnicity they were. At first, I was thrilled that my students were color-blind. Boastfully, I would tell my friends and family that my students did not see each other’s race and how wonderful that was, or, so I thought.
Then one day, I realized that I was mistaken. I want my students to know their heritage and to be proud of their ancestors. Have we become a society where we should not see the color of each other’s skin? Should we not notice the olive-shaped eyes or the varied face shapes, or the blonde hair and blue/brown eyes? Do we tease one another in jest? Some of these words and phrases are playful, while others bring fear into our hearts.
The Hawaii we know and love is a beautifully diverse place, a mixed-plate of Caucasian families and many Asian and Pacific Islander cultures of different generations. It is easy to think in paradise that we are different from the mainland and exclude ourselves from what is going on in the news. We hear about the racial tensions and discussions about the elections and politics. From the beach where we stand, it is hard to tune into those conversations and easy to exclude ourselves. But the reality is that sin or racism is not just a mainland problem nor only a problem of the past. As long as there are people, sin will be prevalent. Hawaii has over a million people, and we are just as fallible as anywhere else. Our culture of aloha, the culture of love and hospitality is also a Christian value. But aloha cannot be passive, for it is a verb. It should be one of action; calling out areas where aloha is not present without violence or bearing false witness. Racism is devoid of aloha.
Our God also calls us to be empathetic. He says to weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice. Apostle Paul’s understanding of being coworkers with Christ means working alongside Christ to share the love and share aloha. We may see cruelty and not understand the premise behind it, but I believe we should treat people with dignity and respect. Pastor Todd Capen also reminded me of the Good Samaritan, who had compassion for the beaten one, as written in Luke 10: 25-37. I remember reading this story as a little girl and how it impressed upon me our need to be compassionate. I am now just as passionate about wanting to instill this same teaching to our keiki.
At TCS, if a student hurt another student in either word or deed; I would pull them aside and, in essence, say, “How could you hurt one of my students?” I try to communicate to them that I will protect them, for they are my students! Just as I believe our Lord grieves when we treat His creation unkindly, that he wants us to respect one another as we would like to be respected. He wants us to embrace our ethnic and cultural differences in each other because that’s how He created us!
Allow us to consider why we might treat someone with disregard? Is it fear or pride that prevents us from seeing one another through the eyes of Christ? At Trinity, we embrace the mixed-plate of cultures we have in Hawaii. May we always show aloha in action, word, and deed to our classmates and colleagues.
May our Profile of a Graduate be reflected in our Trinity students and our whole Trinity community. “Trinity aims for graduates that love God, love others, love learning, think and communicate effectively, engage culture, delight in beauty, and walk humbly.”