Aloha Ke Akua: God is Love

Updated On — 11th Mar, 2016


We don’t need any more divisiveness, we have had enough to satisfy any curiosity for what this contacted state feels like to last until the end of time, if time were to end.  The same goes for hatred, intolerance, fear.

Last night, Christmas Eve, our family took a drive on up to Tantalus Mountain to see our beloved Honolulu spread out before us in the glow of the setting sun, awash with unspeakable hues of gold tinged with magenta-like flourishes.

A car pulled up next to ours to take in this thought stopping splendor. Three young people stepped out of a car playing the most sublime rap tune I think I have ever heard. As they were taking turns at taking pictures of each other, I offered to take a picture of all three of them together. I sensed a momentary hesitation, and then one of the three African Americans gave me his cell phone to take the picture. When I handed him back his cell phone, he looked at me and said “A hug?”

That moment was like an arrow straight to my heart. I felt myself melting in his arms.

Funny thing is that he said exactly what I was feeling in my heart in that moment, bathed in the fading like of the setting sun. I wanted so much to ask him for a hug just at that moment.

The Franciscan priest and author Fr. Richard Rohr wrote:

Jesus came to reveal and resolve the central and essential problem–humanity’s tendency toward fear and hate. The pattern is so deep and habitual within humans that we even make religion itself into a clever cover for our disguised need to remain fearful and hateful. The ultimate disguise whereby you can remain a mean-spirited person is to do it for God or country. You are relieved of all inner anxiety; you can maintain your positive self-image and even some kind of moral high ground, while hidden underneath are “the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption,” as Jesus said (Matthew 23:27).
Love is the totally enlightened, entirely nonsensical way out of this pattern. Love has to be worked toward, received, and enjoyed, first of all by recognizing our deep capacity for fear and hate. But remember, we gather around the negative space quickly, while we “fall into” love rather slowly, and only with lots of practice at falling. We’ll spend the whole next year of meditations exploring this kind of Love.— From: Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer (Paulist Press: 2014)


It does not matter if we find ourselves home with Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, or no religion, as John Lennon imagined, home is home.

Every time you feel lost, alienated, cut off from life, or from the world, every time you feel despair, anger, or instability, coming home is coming to peace in ourselves, to love.

Our practice of Mindfulness is one direct way to come back to our true home, where you meet the living Christ, the living Buddha, the living love.

Sometimes feel weary from so much wandering out of love, and have tried hard but have never been come home to our true self, our one true love.

On this blessed day we honor the timeless teachings of the price of peace, the prince of love. For me there is no better way than to turn to 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul teaches:


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. …

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. …

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. …

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


In the Buddha’s words in the Samyutta Nikaya, in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation:

“Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by lovingkindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.’ Thus should you train yourselves.


In whatever way we can, let’s try to remember today, this Christmas day, this lesson Paul teaches us, that love is patient, kind, bears all things, and does not insist in on its own way.

Aloha ke Akua  (God is love, Love is God).


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About Tom Davidson-Marx

Former Buddhist monk, now father of two and full time registered nurse, my passion is sharing what I have learned from a life-long love, study and practice of the early Buddhist teachings. Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Aloha Ke Akua: God is Love”

  1. Thank you so much for this. I look to these posts for my weekly dose of inspiration and especially appreciate the wide range of teachers you cite; how big and open practice can be!

    • Thanks so much Annie for the very kind and sweet words. Sending you lots of loving-kindness. Looking forward to your next trip back home here to the Islands.


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