Volume 5, Issue 33
August 21, 2020
THIS SUNDAY: August 23, 2020
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost


Chris Neumann (EM)*
John Hanaoka (U)
Lorna Nishi (AG)

Mary Margaret Smith (EM)
David Crocker (U)
Muriel Jackson (LR)
Faith Shiramizu (AG)
Nelson Secretario, Vikki Secretario (HP)

* EM - Eucharisitic Minister; U - Usher; LR - Lay Reader; AG - Altar Guild; HP - Healing Prayers
8:00AM and 9:30AM
Sanctuary and Side Lanai

Aloha Hour
Every Sunday
10:45AM - 12:00PM
Side Lanai and Tent

Monday Crew
Every Monday
Church Office

Daughters of the King
Thursday, August 27th
7:00 - 8:00PM
Zoom meeting
Those who are interested in the Daughter of the King meeting may contact Cami at Cami@allsaintskauai.org for login information.
Sunday School
Every Sunday, 9:30 - 10:15AM
Memorial Hall

Laundry Love
1st & 3rd Wednesday, 5:00PM
Kapa`a Laundromat
McMaster Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele Concert
Every Wednesday, 6:00PM

Choir Practice
Every Thursday, 6:00PM
Choir Room

The editor-in-chief of your Epistle will be taking a few weeks off for surgery on Oahu. In the mean time, we will be publishing a very abbreviated issue each week. These issues will detail the weekly scripture readings, service schedules, duty rosters, upcoming and recurring events, and All Saints' news. Once recovered, the editor-in-chief will resume his duties.

Mahalo for your support.
Weekly Sermon from Kahu Kawika
Keys to Great Faith
Proper 15A: “Keys to Great Faith”
Matthew 15:21-28
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Isaiah 56:1-8
All Saints’ Kapaa, 16 August 2020

When I was preparing to preach on the Gospel lesson from Matthew 15, I found two things that surprised me a lot.

The first is the seemingly harsh tone that Jesus has in the first part of his conversation with the Canaanite Woman. In the encounter, Jesus comes across as at least abrupt and at worst prejudiced and condescending toward the woman, who was only asking him to heal her daughter of demon possession. This is even more egregious given that Jesus, as a Jewish man, speaks this way to a Canaanite woman – a woman from a culture that historically has been at odds with the Jewish people.

When I studied theology in Britain, I came across an esteemed British theologian named F. F. Bruce. One of his seminal works is entitled, “The Hard Sayings of Jesus” (1983). As you can tell from the title, Bruce tackles the difficult things Jesus says in the Gospels. We are used to an image of Jesus as meek and mild, kind and soft; however, some of what Jesus has to say comes across rather harshly.

One of them is in our Gospel reading this morning, and to be quite frank is one with which I have personally struggled to understand. 

I see three options for approaching why Jesus talks this way:
  1. Irritation within Importunity: Jesus is having a bad day and is being rather prickly with the Canaanite woman, displaying an uncharacteristic bias against her ethnically – maybe not unlike our own irritation when we are on vacation and yet keep getting calls from work. After all, Jesus and his followers had traveled up to Tyre and Sidon – modern-day Lebanon – to have some downtime and to get away from the everyday hustle-and-bustle of Jesus’ healing and teaching ministry back home in Israel/Palestine. But still, this seems rather uncharacteristic of the overall picture we have of Jesus, who wanted to feed 5,000 people even though his disciples wanted him to send them all away so that they could be alone. Maybe instead, the Gospel writer Matthew is using Jesus’ words to convey a prejudice many of Matthew’s Jewish readers would have had. Thus Matthew uses the incident to show the Jewish people that God also loves non-Jews, even people as different from them as Canaanites!
  2. Jesus Growing into his Messianic Role: Jesus himself has to grow in his full obedience to the will of God the Father, along the lines of Hebrews 5:8, “Though being God’s Son, Jesus learned to obey through suffering.” This implies that although Jesus knew he was the Messiah, he still had to gradually learn what the fuller picture of that would mean in his life. In short, Jesus’ humanity would have to grow into his divinity. However, what is strange about this is that he seemingly didn’t realize the big theme from the Old Testament of God’s vision for including non-Jews as fellow members of the people of God. Take for example our Old Testament lesson today from Isaiah 56:1-8, in which God welcomes “foreigners, eunuchs, and outcasts” to the table of God’s hospitality and for full inclusion into the family of God. One would expect Jesus to have been familiar with this tradition, so for him to show ignorance of it here in Matthew 15 seems unlikely.
  3. Jesus Assessing the Woman’s Receptivity: Jesus is testing the faith of the Canaanite woman, to see if she is willing to put herself on the line. F. F. Bruce, the Scottish theologian I mentioned earlier, proposed this question: “Why didn’t the woman take offense at what Jesus initially said to her? Often the written word cannot express the tone of voice in what is said or the expression on the speaker’s face. Maybe the woman saw a twinkle in Jesus’ eye as he spoke, as if to say, ‘You know what we Jews are supposed to think of you Gentiles,’ but that is not the case. But we don’t get to see his face or hear his tone of voice. In other words, if Jesus had truly said something offensive to the woman, it is surprising that she shows no defensiveness or offense of her own. In the meantime, there is a bit of a clue here in the story in that Jesus’ uses of the term “dogs” – not in as a putdown implying the Canaanites are “vermin,” but rather the affectionate term in Greek of the “family puppy” – this Jesus seems to be using a slyful play on words, which the Canaanite Woman cleverly picks up on and responds in kind. 

So, the written account of the story may be obscuring a kind tone of voice or a wry smile that the Woman may have seen Jesus employing, thereby making their encounter more positive. We see something like this today when we use our smartphones to text: Texts are great shorthand ways to communicate, but they don’t convey tone of voice nor facial expressions, all of which help us in our communication with each other. We don’t have a tape recorder or video showing Jesus and the Woman (even if we could understand their language and all the nuances of their cultural exchange), Thus, Jesus could be pointing out the “elephant in the room” of the ethnic and gender divide between him, a Jewish man, and this mother, a Canaanite woman, and seeing if her faith can push through that big chasm. As you probably can tell, I prefer this last third option.

The second great surprise in our Gospel reading is Jesus’ ultimate reaction to the woman’s clever response back to him: “Woman, great is your faith!” Out of all the people Jesus encounters in the Gospels, he only declares someone’s faith as great in two instances: This time of the Canaanite Woman, and that of the Roman Centurion (a general in charge of 100 soldiers) in Matthew 8:10, when his servant was at the point of death but said he believed Jesus had the power to heal, even from far away. Jesus remarked about the Roman Centurion, “Never in Israel have I seen such great faith!” Both the Canaanite Woman and the Roman Centurion were members of “hated people” from a 1st-Century Jewish perspective, yet these two unlikely heroes are the epitomes of “great faith.”

With that surprising element, then what can we in our own time and place learn from this clever and persistent woman’s great faith? Here are three things we can learn from her:

  1. The Woman Embraces the Poverty of Her Position: As any good parent reacts whenever their child is in trouble, this woman is desperate and at the end of her rope. She knows she has no more resources of her own. She shouts out of desperation and humbly kneels before him, an uncharacteristic posture before a man of despised ethnicity (according to the norms of both their groups at the time). She has no “attitude,” no insistence on her rights to be heard. She also realizes that her problem is much bigger than she can handle – “demon possession” = anything that demeans us and breaks us from the bonds of God’s love and acceptance by others. 

Any of us who have been parents or grandparents can identify with this woman’s desperation. One time when Caleb was only 8-years-old, we went with my father to an L.A. Lakers basketball game at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. This was on a Friday night, and we finally left the arena around 10:30pm. As we were leaving outside and in the middle of the large exiting crowd, suddenly I realized that Caleb had let go of my hand. I frantically looked around a could not find him in the dense crowd! After about a minute or two of my father and I calling out to Caleb and scouring the faces in the crowd, finally we spotted him back at the signal light corner from which we had just crossed the street. That feeling of panic for a child is definitely what this Woman is going through, and she knows there is no more she alone can do for her daughter. Similarly, for us to have such great faith, we need to face the limitations of our own resources, that we need the help of God and others at times in our lives, that we are in the words of the poet John Donne, “no man (person) is an island.” When we know we need God, we open ourselves up to God’s help.

  1. The Woman Embraces the Person of Jesus: We see this already in what she calls Jesus – “Lord” – clearly crossing the expectations of racial, cultural, and gender distancing. She also doesn’t give up – despite Jesus’ initial “rebuff”, she keeps coming back to him. This calls us, as well, to not give in or give up when we embrace Jesus in our lives. This past Friday, 14 August, was the Feast Day of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, the 26-year-old Episcopal seminarian who joined Civil Rights advocates in Selma, AL – he ended up protecting a 16-year-old African-American girl from an attack by bigots. Jonathan’s faith in Jesus led him to accept the blows on his own body, thereby giving his life for the girl. He could do this because he knew he belonged to Jesus and knew he was acting in the center of God’s will. This wise and perceptive woman knows that she needs to draw close to Jesus.

  1. The Woman Embraces the Power of God: Remarkably, the Woman’s response to Jesus’ analogy of the children’s food at the table is that even the “little puppies” get to eat the crumbs from their table. She knows that even God’s “scraps” are great enough for her! She knows that the small leftovers from God are much more powerful and efficacious than our own considerable resources of education, wealth, connections, and social status. From today’s Epistle lesson in Romans 11:29, God’s gift and call are irrevocable – NOTHING can nullify the power of God.

Rick Warren, a Southern-California Pastor, is quoted as saying, “The purpose of life is to prepare us for eternity.” Like training for a marathon (aches, sore muscles, blisters, building up stamina), we have many trials put before us that we can use as training platforms for living with God for eternity. The Canaanite Woman shows us the qualities she had that Jesus says constitute great faith in God: (1) Embracing the Poverty of our Position; (2) Embracing the Person of Jesus; and (3) Embracing the Power of God. In a world swirling with trials and confusion larger than ourselves, let’s never give in or give up, and always draw close to Jesus. Amen.

For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering, especially Kaaren, Kelly, Bill, Bob, The Sloggett Family, Annie, Mike, Destry, Laragh, and those we name silently or aloud, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. 

For all who have died, especially Bruce, Dick, Jonathan, and those affected by the COVID-19 virus and those we name silently or aloud, in the hope of the resurrection, and for all the departed, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy. Amen.
E Komo Mai to Our New Senior Warden!
Linda Crocker Chosen and Has Accepted the Position of Senior Warden
As I announced at our Sunday services on August 2nd, I am thrilled that we have a new Senior Warden -- Linda Crocker! Linda has been serving on our Vestry, and I have noticed both there and in other areas that she is a Spirit-filled person who is wise, has a concern for the whole church and surrounding community, has the pulse of the various parts of our church 'ohana, and is not afraid to give me truthful and candid counsel for the sake of God's glory and our blessing. She also has a pastoral heart, proactively concerned for both individuals and groups within our church and wider community. She has agreed to serve at least until our next Annual Meeting in late January. If you have not already done so, please extend to Linda your best wishes and blessings upon her. Mahalo nui loa, Linda, for stepping up to serve God and our church 'ohana in this vital area of ministry!

-Kahu Kawika
Special Request from Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick

Please share the following and the attached as broadly as possible in your congreations and communities. As Episcopalians, we participate in the census as a civic duty and responsiblity, and it is just as important as voting and taking an active part in our communities. Please encourage everyone to reply to the Census. 
Yours faithfully,
Excerpt from a letter from US Representative Ed Case, 1ST District, Hawaii to Bishop Bob Regarding the US 2020 Census
Dear Bishop Fitzpatrick:

We are reaching out to you, as a leader of Hawaii's faith-based communities, to ask for your full assistance and that of your own community in ensuring that our Hawai'i is fully counted in the 2020 Census, which is currently scheduled to conclude in just a few weeks on September 30th. 

The Census, which our country has undertaken every ten years since 1790, is critical to our country and to each and all of us on several counts. First, it provides us with a regular update on how many and who we are to guide the best national policies. It also determines how many U.S. Representatives each state is designated and ensures that our overall population is as evenly distributed across our congressional district as possible.

Most critically especially for a small state like Hawai'i, the Census guides the distribution of federal assistance across our country to our states and congressional districts. Hundreds of federal programs in critical areas like education, housing, health care, economic assistance, minority assistance and more depend on the Census statistics for where their federal assistance is directed. For our Hawai'i which receives billions of dollars in federal assistance annually, estimates are that each 1% of our population that is not counted results in over $16 million of lost federal funding. To make matters worse, often the communities that are undercounted are those in the most need of that federal assistance. All of this has been compounded with the dire needs of COVID-19, where trillions of dollars of federal emergency assistance have been distributed and will be distributed based on 2010 Census numbers (and from next year on 2020 Census numbers.)

There are two basic stages to the 2020 Census count. In the first...all households throughout our state are requested and welcomed voluntarily by phone or online. It is a very easy process that takes five to ten minutes per household. In the second stage... voluntary responses continue but Census enumerators (counters) will attempt to visit every household that has not responded to take the count personally....it is way better and easier for everyone if households respond voluntarily by phone or online. 

At present the last counting will be completed this September 30th and the 2020 Census will close....Best estimates now are that close to 40% of our households across the state are still not counted. [Bold emphasis added by The Epistle editor] 


There are multiple ways to respond to the 2020 Census, but by far the easiest way is through the online form at https://my2020census.gov. For other ways to respond to the Census, such as by phone or mail, please visit https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html.


With aloha,

Ed Case
1ST District, Hawaii

To read the entire letter, click here.
Hale Ho`omalu Accepts Donations
All Saints' Restarts Donation Collection
All Saints’ has had a long relationship with Hale Ho`omalu, a Child and Family Service program that provides families with the tools and resources they need to create meaningful and lasting change in their lives. Over the years, our `Ohana has collected donations specific to monthly-need requests provided by Hale Ho`omalu.

COVID-19 changed our ability to collect donations since on-site church services were canceled. Now that we are open for on-site worship, our Hale Ho`omalu donations will be collected again for delivery to this worthy program. We are grateful to our wonderful Monday Crew that takes the donations to Hale Ho`omalu each week.

Hale Ho`omalu is requesting donations of school supplies. There is an on-going need for travel sized toiletries and canned goods so these items will be accepted every week. As always, monetary donations are gratefully accepted.
IN BRIEF . . .

These news briefs were featured in previous issues of "The Epistle"

Please submit your story ideas to the Epistle Staff at news@allsaintskauai.org.
Any of our All Saints' kupuna who need assistance with grocery shopping can contact Carolyn Morinishi (808-651-2061) to set up a delivery.

If any ministry has an unmet need, reach out to put it in the All Saints' Virtual Swap Meet and it will be published in the Epistle. Contact Bill Caldwell at news@allsaintskauai.org.

Whenever you have a need for support, please call (650) 691-8104 and leave a voice mail. The system will immediately forward the information to the Pastoral Care Committee who will respond to each request. If you prefer, you may send an electronic pastoral care request via email to pastoralcare@allsaintskauai.org.

Individuals who want to participate in the Prayer Chain Ministry must re-enroll to continue receiving the email communications. To re-enroll, please visit the newly established Pastoral Care web page or contact the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Prayer requests will now be submitted online or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Names can be added to the Prayers of the People petitions by using the Prayer Chain Request form or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267. Names will remain in the Prayers of the People for a maximum of four Sundays before a name must be resubmitted.