7-20-21 FUMC Updates … BEES, HONEY and the BODY OF CHRIST

I love our Saturday morning Farmer’s Market!  We are so fortunate to have such amazing vendors with so many different fresh vegetables, homemade soaps, fresh-baked bread, homegrown beef, and yes … HONEY! Honey is on my mind because I read a great article about a group of United Methodist beekeepers who reported that their involvement with the pollinators has increased their sense of wonder and faith!  One said: “I never feel more connected to the earth and to God than when I’m surrounded by a million venomous insects,” says Jay Williams, a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee. “It’s like a tap on the shoulder that says, ‘Hey, there’s more than you think.'” And Tate Abbott, 18, who is studying wildlife biology in North Carolina, has wanted to be an apiarist (who knew there was a scientific name for a beekeeper?) since she was 7 years old. “Even the simplest things, like when bees go out to pollinate flowers … it’s little but that stuff matters,” Abbott says. From watching the bees, she concluded that “simple acts of faith” she does for God “may be little but … can make a huge difference.”

Here’s what I find so fascinating about bees … they have a commitment to the common good of their hive, just as we, as the body of Christ, should have a commitment to the church!  A honeybee colony can contain from 20,000 to 80,000 honeybees and one queen and to keep the colony functioning well requires a high degree of organization, efficiency, and coordination. 

-The queen bee mates with around a dozen male bees (drones), and she can produce up to 2,500 eggs a day, more than her body weight. She is the mother of every bee in the hive and determines the gender of each of her children. The only thing the male honeybees (drones) do is mate, after which they die.

-Female worker bees serve the swarm in distinct divisions: builders construct the honeycomb, guards provide security and protection from intruders, sanitation workers clean the nest to ward off disease, nurses feed the queen bee and larvae, A/C and heating specialists control the temperature, so the hive doesn’t get too hot in summer or too cold in winter, and gatherers collect nectar and make honey. 

-Scout bees locate sources of nectar and potential new nesting sites, as needed, and return to the nest to communicate information to the rest of the colony through a waggle dance. Scouts vary the dance to indicate the direction, distance, and quality of the food source or nesting site.   

Researchers have discovered that bees can use tools: They are able to learn to pull a string or move a ball across a goal line in “bee football” to get a food reward. But while honeybees are disciplined and dedicated workers, they spend two-thirds of their time doing nothing, resting to recharge their energy.

Beekeeping in the Middle East dates back at least 3,000 years, according to archaeologists. Honeybees pollinate most of our crops and trees, giving us the food, we eat and the air we breathe. In some cultures, the work of pollination that bees do has been called holy; they are considered by some to be sacred animals because of their self-sacrificial pattern of living for others that supports the ecosystem of the entire earth. Bees help create habitats for birds, insects, and mammals, fertilizing plants upon which animals and people rely for oxygen, food, and other resources necessary for survival.

Honey is referenced in the Bible over 60 times! (SEE BELOW)

Back to my recognition that bees all have a commitment to the common good of the hive and that, in fact, is why our Lord gave us unique gifts & talents designed to make disciples! Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. … All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-12

The passage above could have been written about a beehive! While honeybees lack the ability to speak, read or write, they can teach humans much about cooperation and teamwork. Each bee contributes a specific skill to the colony, synchronizing their efforts for the benefit of all! Worker bees, who only live about 30 days, collect nectar for the sake of the colony, not for themselves. It takes two months to produce honey out of the nectar, so the workers eat honey provided by other bees that have preceded them, and they never get to consume the fruit of their own labor, which they leave for others to eat!

Likewise, the health and well-being of the body of Christ depends on each person fulfilling their responsibility to the church as a whole. When we all exercise our individual gifts, serving in various ways through different activities for the common good, the entire body of Christ thrives! There are no lone-ranger Christians! Humans are interdependent, but sometimes we like to imagine that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. The truth is, we all need each other to survive and thrive.

On one last random note: Proverbs 16:24 says …”Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body”. Let’s allow our kind words to build others up and, at the same time, keep us in a positive mental state, which is so healthy for my body.” 

OUR LAST PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT IS Friday, August 6th, 6-9 pm … if you haven’t yet been Ministry Safe trained and want to jump in and help, just let me know, but if you have …  CLICK HERE and pick a spot to make a difference for our kids and their parents!  Many “bees” make the event come together and we need you all!  If you have already registered your children, no need to register again – just please let us know if you’ll be here. If you want to share details with your friends, our website had details: https://www.fumcwinnsboro.com/kids-youth/

MONDAY, August 2nd, 4-8 pm*** GREAT NEWS: you can now come to the ALL YOU CAN EAT Catfish Buffet from AJ’s Fish House and pay $20 at the door OR make reservations ahead of time (and be entered into a special raffle)!  It’s going to be a very FUN night as Pastor Debbie & Carolyn Stewart will be crazy, wacky celebrity waiters at the WOOD COUNTY Foster Child fundraiser, Tips for Tots on August 2nd.  *** While you can go and eat until 8 pm, Carolyn and I will only be there from 4-6 so I hope you can come early!  

FROM OUR Lay Servant Ministries: the Annual Laity Event on Aug. 14, 9-3, ZOOM Webinar, is open to all laity and clergy. REGISTER HERE: https://ntcumc.org/lay-servant-ministries and look for registration button)
Pastor Debbie


God described the promised land as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8, 17). 

God provided the Israelites manna in the wilderness, which tasted “like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31), “nursed” his people “with honey from the crags” (Deuteronomy 32:13) and satisfied them “with honey from the rock” (Psalm 81:16).

Honey was given as gifts (Genesis 43:11; 1 Kings 14:1-3), used to support the priests and the Levites (2 Chronicles 31:4-5), traded as a commodity (Ezekiel 27:17), included in provisions for troops (2 Samuel 17:27-29) and used as part of a ransom (Jeremiah 41:8).

Jonathan tasted a bit of honey from a honeycomb he found during a battle, and “his eyes brightened.” The honey strengthened him for the task at hand (1 Samuel 14:24-30). John the Baptist subsisted on locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6).