A Sign of Friendship
By Lois Parker Edstrom
Object suggested: Map showing Hawaiian Islands or pictures of Hawaii
Picture of a Hawaiian lei
The Hawaiian Islands are a beautiful string of islands far out in the Pacific Ocean. The temperature there is warm and the air is filled with the fragrance of flowers.
Hawaiians have a wonderful custom of giving a flower lei to visitors as a sign of friendship and to make them feel welcome. (Show picture of lei.) Can you imagine how welcome you would feel if someone greeted you, with a big smile, and hung a circle of fragrant flowers around your neck?
The Hawaiian people having been doing this for a thousand years, starting when ancient people first traveled long distances in sailing canoes and followed the stars to get to the islands. The early leis were made from flowers, but also from feathers, seeds, shells, or leaves.
Today leis are given to welcome guests at special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations.
Most of us do not live in Hawaii among tropical flowers, but we can find other ways to welcome people into our homes and lives. Jesus said, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (10:40).
Jesus was talking to his disciples when he said this to let them know that the people who welcomed them, as they were spreading God’s message of love, were honoring God.
We can make others feel welcome with a smile, a handshake, or by offering a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty. As you share God’s love with others you welcome them to God’s family.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan