If you just happen to be in Oahu, consider going to the 25th Annual Honolulu Festival that starts tomorrow and runs from 9am-9pm each day this weekend, culminating in the Grand Parade down Waikiki’s main street: Kalulkaua Avenue. Alan and I “just happened” to be there last March while Alan was at a medical conference and were delighted to experience this colorful international event!According to their website: “The Honolulu Festival is Hawaii’s premier cultural event, promoting mutual understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim region. Each year, the Festival attracts thousands of new and returning spectators who are looking for an experience unique to Hawaii. Through educational programs and activities sponsored by the Honolulu Festival Foundation, the Festival has been successful in showcasing the rich and vibrant blend of Asia, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures to the rest of the world. Events and activities of the Honolulu Festival take place close to the city center, making them great outings for locals and tourists alike. Admission to all the events is free, ensuring that everyone can take part in the Festival.” (Everyone, and even everyone’s favorite friend!)
Like all the best festivals, Honolulu’s Grand Parade has lots of bands,performers in colorful costumes,beauty queens,singers and musicians,fanciful floats,and many groups of lovely people in various traditional dresses. One of the unique aspects of the Honolulu Festival is its international flavor. There are hundreds of participants from dozens of countries, and thousands of spectators from around the world! Another unique aspect of the parade—being Hawaiian—are many troupes of hula dancers! Last, but not least, are the many Asian cultural influences, not only in floats and dress,but very prominently in costumes depicting idols and dragons. Especially dragons! I think the high point (perhaps figuratively but for sure physically)is a mighty dragon that bounces along high above everyone’s head looking fierce!Just as the dragon looked like he might come and eat us up, his head went down. After some time and work, dragon carriers discovered the problem and fixed it with (what else?) duct tape. I do think half the world is patched together with duct tape, don’t you? The dragon’s eyes still glowed fiendishly, but his mouth had been tightly closed, so he could not bite us! It made me think of the lion in Pilgrim’s Progress. In that story, Christian (a pilgrim on his way to heaven) was terrified by the growling lion he could see ahead in the dim light, but when he got close, he realized that the lion was chained and couldn’t really destroy him as he’d feared.In the Bible, we’re told not to fear anyone but God Almighty, who created all the universe, including us, and reigns over his entire creation. Every other “god” is an imposter, like Honolulu’s green dragon: Puffed up and looking high and mighty, but really just full of hot air, created, promoted, repaired, and carried along by people just like you and me!I hope you aren’t among those who worship false idols, but if you are, may I encourage you to look into the God of the Bible? He is full of mercy, love, and compassion. He loves us so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we can become God’s children through faith in Christ (John 1:14). According to every other religion, the gods have to be appeased and placated, and it’s left up to us to be “good enough” to get into heaven, but in Christianity, God knows that we’ll never be “good enough,” so he provided for us. All we have to do is repent of thinking we’ll be good enough to get there on our own and accept his love gift, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior. At the Honolulu Festival, there are many kindly staff workers available to help people out. I loved their logo: “Harmony Over the Ocean: Journey to Peace.” Amen to that one! I am all for harmony and journeying to peace, aren’t you?I think this man has it just right! Do you see the sign on his cap? Do you know what “HE>I” means? “He is greater than I.” God is greater than we are. How true! On our “parade route” to heaven, we can’t get there on our own. We need His help, and God wants to help us. He alone deserves our praise and worship!“For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place” (1 Chronicles 16:25-27).