It’s a good day to be visiting royalty. I wear a long flowing dress and lipstick, my hair all curled and fancy hoping I am presentable to the Queen. I gaze upwards at the Palace, honored to be welcomed in. But my heart deflates to find that the Queen is no longer in residence and her home has become a museum.
Though the walls are still lined with the portraits of European dignitaries, a symbol of Hawai’i’s thriving diplomacy, the rooms are relatively bare. When the power-hungry American missionaries-turned-businessmen pointed guns at the Palace and forced Queen Liliuokalani off her throne, the royal family’s possessions were auctioned off and scattered across the globe.
Today the Friends of Iolani Palace are calling back the inventory of royal possessions, unearthing items buried in thrift stores across the continental U.S., hanging in living rooms in New Zealand, and caught in the nooks and crannies of the furthest corners of the earth.
Tears carve pathways down my face as I kneel in the Queens bedroom where the architects of the coup d’etat cruely imprisoned her Royal Highness while revving up the engines of their illegitimate “Provisonal Government”.
Outside again, I gaze to the heavens, struggling to understand how the US could cover up the illegality of this overthrow and then blatantly ignore the 40,000+ signatures of Hawaiian Kingdom subjects protesting against US annexation. How can my own government, promoting “liberty and justice for all” break their own laws to claim the small island Kingdom as the so-called 50th State?
Though the Queen is no longer in the house, I visited her today. That bedroom in the palace which her adversaries made into a prison, she transformed into a sanctuary of intercession and worship. This incredible woman lived simultaneously in two Kingdoms — the Kingdom of Hawai’i and the Kingdom of Heaven. While she was so unjustly treated, she never lost sight of the Kingdom above, never lost her dignity, and never lost her love.
The Spirit of God who met her in sweet fellowship still lingers there, meeting today’s generation of Hawaiians and Kingdom subjects in their anguish and lifting them with hope. My sorrowful soul is soothed by the words of Queen Liliuokalani in “The Queen’s Prayer“, a song she composed while imprisoned inside those walls listening to the steady rhythm of soldiers marching outside her doorway. The melody opens another doorway to freedom, healing, and restoration… (English translation of original Hawaiian; click here to listen)
O Lord, Thy loving mercy
Is high as the heavens;
It tells us of Thy truth
And ‘tis filled with holiness.
Whilst humbly meditating
Within these walls imprisoned,
Thou art my light, my haven
Thy glory my support.
Oh look not on our failing,
Nor on the sins of men.
Forgive with loving kindness
That we might be made pure.
For Thy grace I beseech Thee;
Bring us ‘neath Thy protection
And peace will be our portion,
Now and forevermore. Amen.
I breathe in grace which she extended to her missionary captors. Somehow, I feel it’s for me too. If it wasn’t for her generous heart of love, there would be no place for someone like me in Hawai’i–a white woman standing in solidarity with the Hawaiian community for healing and restoration. Christ hung on the cross crying, “Father, forgive them!” Queen Liliuokalani sat in her bedroom prison saying, “Father, forgive them!” Now it’s my turn, our turn.
Dear Queen, fellow daughter of the Heavenly King, I do not take your forgiveness lightly. Thank you for opening the way for us (haole missionaries) to return and try to walk the good way, the way of love and truth in Jesus Christ, so that we all would be healed. The sins of my people are very great, yet you found the grace of Christ greater and poured it out over us. I am honored to be in your island Kingdom and do my part so that things be made right again. With you I pray, “Lord, let your Kingdom come and your will be done, here [in Hawai’i] as it is in heaven.”
Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono
To learn more about the Hawaiian Kingdom…
Watch Dr. Keanu Sai on Hawai’i’s International Treaties (at least first 2.5 min)