Pray all you want, but where should I go?

An island that prays together states the headline of The Garden Island newspaper, Monday, May 4. My goodness.

“Their National Day of Prayer signifies unity across people in the United States of America and it signifies a special day, no matter what faith group you belong to,” Jeffrey Pears, chairman of the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai said. “It crosses all barriers, all faith groups, and brings all of us together …”

Such a beautiful thought. I love Jeffrey. I’ve laughed with him on many occasions. I love to laugh. We share the idea that there’s little more healing than a really good gaffaw. We met last at a large meeting of the Jewish community. I can’t remember when I’ve felt so happy and at home in a crowded room. The best and the brightest on Kauai, in my estimation, were there. We laughed. We listened. We learned. We also snacked. But nobody prayed.

As I read through the TGI article I note there are two organization. Jeffrey’s IRK and KIM — Kauai Island Ministries — organized by Niles Kageyama, who has invited all Christian churches across the island to join their event with different pastors, John Zimmerman of Lihue Missionary Church and Pastor Larry Matsuwaki from Faith Christian Fellowship.

They share the same theme “Hear Our Cry” and ended up meeting at the same place, on the same day, Thursday, May 7, at the Civic Center Rotunda in Lihue. IRK went first from 9 to 11 a.m. KIM took second billing, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“No Buddhists, no Zoroasters, no Islamists, no Hindus,” my friend Monroe Richmasn, reminds us, were invited to join IRK.

Debra Valentina, who leads the Center for Spiritual Living, and planned to attend the IRK meeting, said, “It doesn’t matter to me that there’s two.”

Seems odd to me, but that’s the way the wafer crumbles.

Also, we’re told, the National Day of Prayer began in 1775. My search revealed:

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. A privately funded organization, whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer, exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. They represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

I’m reminded of a story about a visitor to California who had the misfortune to experience an earthquake.

“I’m scared,” she cried.

Her friend, who’d taken shelters in a door way, hollered, “I’m from California. We always get under a door way.”

“I’m from New jersey,” cried the scared lady, “where do I go?”

As a devout non-believer — more agnostic than atheistic, I mean, I don’t know — who doesn’t go to church, doesn’t pray, ask, “Where do I go?”

Bettejo Dux is a resident of Kalaheo.


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