A Prophetic Song: Meet Polima Lopez
This is the third piece from my “Behind KCN's Veil" series. I’m pulling back the veil to share with you the who, what, and why of Kona Coast Naz. Each Pastor’s Perspective will cover another aspect of KCN that make us unique. This piece completes the three PP covering KCN staff...
"Where we want to be as a worshipping body and where we are is really far apart.”
I heard this quote last week while I was attending a seminar with 15 pastors. Everyone nodded their headed in agreement—not just sympathizing with the speaker but empathizing with the exact feeling of leading people that simply have not yet arrived at a desired goal. Pastors, especially, know this feeling in a profound way. The very calling of a pastor-shepherd is to nudge and challenge and stretch and encourage an assembly of believers further toward God’s Kingdom. Unfortunately, the proverbial saying fits: it’s easier said than done!
To pastors, the church as it is, and the church as God desires it to be, often seems light-years apart. And God's people never quite move as quickly as the pastor discerns they ought.
As I read the scriptures (anywhere, really, you pick!) I always find this gap, this distance between God’s people and God’s desire for them. All sorts of “stuff” keeps this gap gaping wide open: sin, injustice, idolatry, lack of trust, greed, irreverence, worry, grumbling, etc. I think of some of the Kings of old, or some of the Judges, or some of those early church planters with Paul: they were keenly aware of the unfaithfulness gap. They saw it, they lived it, they felt it! I’m right there with them.
God has this great tool that is intended to assist pastor-shepherd-leaders in nudging people toward faithfulness. And the power of this tool is that its purpose is not to nudge at all; it’s power is to push and pull and sometimes be creatively forceful. The scriptures call this tool A PROPHET. God has been sending prophets for thousands of years to stand in the middle of this gap and relentlessly pull God’s people toward the Kingdom.
This pastor has hope—hope that the distance between where KCN is and where God desires KCN to be is shrinking—because there is a prophet being prepared in our midst.
These prophets that God sends (calls!) are, well, prophetic. They often come from the ruins of life and offer true LIFE to those that suffer. They rise out of ashes and through the trying fire of culture (status quo) to point out just how unfaithful we are. To be prophetic, though, is NOT simply to foresee the future but IS to foretell the consequences of unfaithfulness through creative means and novel measures. They DO NOT predict future events. Prophets DO, however, prepare the blind to see clearly just how treacherous the future might be should we continue to be unfaithful.
These people—modern day prophets—are rare and yet they are essential precisely because they are called to say and do the unpopular…because what’s popular is simply not worth living for. They’re not necessarily ministers and pastors in the traditional sense but they always stand in the gap of unfaithfulness and “tell it how it is”. Which is to say, a true prophet is faithfully committed to stand in the gap, creatively partnering with leadership, and speaking truth amid the chaos, hope to despairing hearts. Prophets DO NOT travel the globe making predictions; they DO travel the local worlds of local people gathered in local communities pointing out obvious and hidden sin and injustice.
We have a prophet that stands in the gap at KCN. Yeah, you heard that correctly. And I’ve been wanting to say it for a while!
Her creative voice comes by way of the piano and song. The ruins from which she has risen can be traced back to dilapidated apartments in the heart of Honolulu. The refining fires of a hard life have worked to soften rather than harden her heart for those floating through life on a sea of sin and darkness.
Polima Lopez (Limah) is a prophet-in-the-making. She wouldn’t admit it (which prophet would?), but she fits the bill, has accepted the call, and is beginning to live into that oh-so-needed role on the Kona Coast.
Now you might be thinking: How on earth does Pastor Ryan know that? Who is he to make that statement? And some of you who know Polima personally may really be doubting these claims.
But there are a handful that have witnessed the radical transformation of her life, and right now you are nodding in agreement. And to those fortunate few that know Polima, have heard the cry of her heart, and have allowed her to dream with you about the future of this island…you’re likely pumping your fists and cheering that I’m finally getting the word out!
I met Limah three years ago. Like the psalmists, she’s been singing through torment and blessings, regret and growth. The whole while she’s had an unfading passion for music as a vehicle to the heart of God. For Limah, worship music is not just a vehicle to get closer to God; instead, it is through worshiping freely that we are at the heart of God. So she writes, she plays, she sings. They are not exercises for work and ministry; they are practicing the presence of a God that moves us closer and toward true LIFE, the life we’re called to. This is why she would say that our lives—her life—should be an ongoing song of worship faithfully and freely sung!
I met Limah three years ago. Like the followers of Jesus, she has asked question after question after question. Our call to change and to understand are both urgent. Revival in her life and revival on the Kona Coast are at our fingertips. Like those early followers of Jesus, she is searching and scratching for answers and solutions. And all the while she is a sponge—a sponge with a drive and will to see her family and community saturated in health and vitality.
I met Limah three years ago. Like the prophets of old she has been lamenting the unfaithfulness of her people. The gap between where her family, her cultural kin, and her neighbors are and where God desires them is heart-wrenching for her. She breaks for people in hurt. She craves a different future for “her people”; it drives her, it consumes her, it is the reasons she is called. She, like many that have gone before her, has been met with resistance. But this doesn’t kill the flame, it fuels it. She burns for God’s will in this land.
Limah’s story over the last three yeas has been marked by worshipful pursuit of God, searching and longing for truth, and a burning lament for a people that are far from faithfulness. Each year seems to be a different prophetic stanza; God seems to be putting the pieces together for a song of “resurrection". From hardship to blessing, from death to life, from hopelessness to a passion and purpose—before my very eyes, I have watched (and heard) a beautiful song being played—the song of Limah’s transformed life.
Prophets that stand in the gap of unfaithfulness are never satisfied, always hungry, and broken on behalf of the brokenhearted. This is Polima. And just like God has done with her life, she will turn and do for the church. As a prophet, her impassioned and creative voice will come through the melodies of music. She will commit to a local people, partner with a pastoral team, and speak (and sing!) about the possibility of closing the gap of unfaithfulness. She knows through her own life’s song that God’s grace is as sweet as music; and God’s people must join together and sing!
On Mission with you,