Today I visited The Church of the Holy Cross, a cute little Episcopal church in Kahuku on the right hand side of the road just after Kahuku village before Mala‘ekahana. It was a small, but welcoming group at the church which was kind of laid back and fun. They sang some old hymns and also some Hawaiian hymns. The pastor gave a short sermon and the congregation responded with how the words and scriptures spoke to them. Some asked questions. They put some flowers on the altar earlier that morning and just before the sermon they popped open. I said, they needed the sun, which ironically paralleled one of the lines in the opening hymn. I enjoyed the service there and the little church that has been there since the late fifties or early sixties according to one of the members.
I really enjoyed revisting Psalm 93 which we read aloud together in church today. This scripture that slide across the surface of the ocean underneath my board and my body served as the foundation for a type of faith that made me feel secure on some of the biggest and best Pipe days I have ever seen and I am so thankful for that. I will never forget the days that I had the instinct to go in immediately and as I walked up the beach I witnessed the set of the day that cleaned up the whole line up. These types of senarios occured on a regular basis before the life guards showed up and I always knew it had something to do with you LORD, but I guess in hindsight I should also credit the countless hours I spent surfing out there in order to fine tune those instincts. I give you the credit for that too, however, espeically as becomes more and more of a struggle to even get to the waves at Pipe today due to the endless traffic, crowds and surfing contest. Thanks for letting me see your power and dwell within the spirit of Pipeline. I hope you will allow me to keep going even into my old age.
Psalm 93: Some commentary
Revelation and inspiration has the power to be reinterpreted throughout the ages, however, this psalm has significant meaning to Israel and the establishment of their God YHWH. When YHWH is referenced as mighty waters, thunderous waves or sea creatures like Leviathan, it had special meaning in its original context because YHWH had to prove himself more powerful than the Anicent Near East storm gods of the time such as Tiamot, Marduk and Baal. I have to admit that I am a fan of Tiamot; a female goddes of the salt water who seemed to be the most high god in a earlier time period so I have to wonder if she might be holding me up within this scripture too. Some scholars suggest that the first Genesis creation myth in chapter 1 verse 2 actually refers to Tiamot through the Hebrew word tehom (deep). “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” It is always interesting that the further we go back in time, the more likely we are to find females possesing the highest positions in the heavenly realms and priestly orders. Pele would be another example of this not to mention YHWHʻs former wife Asherah who was also a fertility goddess of the sea, hence the Asherah poles that are descrated in later books of the monarchial period represent Asherah and the elimination of YHWHʻs wife as the Israelites adopted radical monotheism. The Ancient Near East religions that influenced Israel are evident in this psalm through YHWHʻs soverignty over the other storm gods and sea creatures which is symbolized by the establishment of his house, an important motif in the Baal story and other myths. It is likely that this psalm, or atleast sections of of predate Israelite religion, but also recycle the tradition as it is still read in the synagogue today to celebrate Shabbat. Some Christians are afraid to discover the origins and secrets of ancient scripture because it challenges their contemporary doctrines, but I find it pretty powerful that the myths and psalms of Mesopotamia, Ugarit and Egypt, went on to influence Israel and later Christianity in such an impressionable way that they made it on the bottom of my surfboard still today to instil faith, strength and security in the great and powerful seas of Paumalū Hawai‘i.