June 23rd, 2012| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


In Maui, where we were last month, we attended a luau (lū‘au), a traditional Hawaiian feast accompanied by obligatory dances and music.

As we entered into the complex where the luau was to be conducted, each of the guests was garlanded with a lei. A Hawaiian proverb says it well: E lei no au i ko aloha (“I will wear your love as a wreath/adornment”). That’s what the lei is, a wreath, given in a traditional welcome.

All kinds of materials may be utilized for this adornment: flowers, ferns, vines, seeds, nuts, feathers, shells, and even teeth (of dogs, whales, etc.), bones (human fingers), and hair (human)!

We got the lei ‘ā‘ī (lei around the neck, as opposed to the one on the head or on the wrists/ankles). Ours was made of the Kukui nut, from the Candlenut tree (Aleurites moluccana), the state tree of the Hawaii, and the physical manifestation of Lono, the Hawaiian god of agriculture and fertility.

(There’s my brother accepting the lei. It is supposed to be worn half in front and half behind.)

Apparently such leis were donned by royalty to advertise their social status and to point to the presence of Lono. A mark of honor.

All kinds of head-and-neck ornaments are found in the Bible, besides actual crowns and necklaces. The book of Proverbs recommends these appurtenances for the child of God:

Indeed, they [father’s instruction/mother’s teaching]
are a graceful wreath to your head
And ornaments about your neck.
Proverbs 1:9

She [wisdom] will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.
Proverbs 4:9

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.
Proverbs 12:4

The crown of the wise is their riches [i.e., wisdom = wealth].
Proverbs 14:24

A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31

Grandchildren are the crown of old men,
And the glory of sons is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6

But, more honorable than instruction, wisdom, wives, wealth, and gray hair, are the crowns/wreaths promised to believers when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

Everyone who competes in the games
exercises self-control in all things.
They then do it to receive a perishable wreath,
but we an imperishable.
1 Corinthians 9:25

A number of such promised pieces of headgear are described in the New Testament.

A “crown of righteousness” (for those who have lived righteously in Christ):

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day;
and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7–8

A “crown of life” (for those who have suffered for Christ):

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial;
for once he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12

A “crown of joy” (for those who have led others to Christ):

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation?
Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?
1 Thessalonians 2:19

A “crown of glory” (for those who have been good leaders under Christ):

Shepherd the flock of God among you,
… proving to be examples to the flock.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
1 Peter 5:2, 4

Go for the gold!


  1. ken June 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I think of that old Hymn about Crown Him with Many Crowns


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