Of all the things I've heard come out of a Hawaiians mouth the past 3 days, the chants have been my favorite. In addition to the sunrise chant, there was another chant as we left the harbor on the way to our snorkeling excursion. More after the pics.
They explained that this chant (which was in Hawaiian) was a particular form of song or hymn as it could be called that a student would sing as they embarked on any kind of journey. It was intended to be sung to the Gods and master teacher with a tone of humility and in a spirit of teachableness. The student would initiate the chant and the teacher upon hearing the tone and willingness of the students to learn would respond with an acknowledgement verse and then the teaching/learning would begin. I loved that idea. What a great way to think of a hymn. A song offering our willingness to the creator to learn and be taught by His Spirit. As they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.
This is so far from the mindset nowadays of, "attend as little of class as possible, do the least amount of work for the best grade, and largely blame the teacher if little learning takes place"...etc...etc.
In our culture we pay schools and universities to teach us the learning or philosophies that mankind has acquired. Usually the students matriculate with the end goal of making more money. Hearing this chant today reminded me the mindset wasn't always like that, nor does it need to be. The goal of learning used to be to learn, and be taught by the Gods, mother nature, and/or an Elder of the community who had spent a lifetime learning from life and the laws that govern it. Now, being educated is more often linked with potentially higher income, rather than actually gaining light and knowledge from God, the Master Teacher. The love of money can so easily betray learning. The chant reminded me of true learning, which requires a true student, and a relationship between the two initiated by a willingness to be taught.
I thank the Hawaiians for the "learner chant" or Student's chant I heard today. It's rekindled within me the desire to learn, not just from schools or universities, but also from God, from nature. It reminded me of new ways to think of hymns. I want to always be one willing to be taught, I know so little that it shouldn't be that difficult. I think I will ponder these ideas next time I sing a hymn.