Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Cherishing Bees is a Religious Experience!
Bees and honey show up surprisingly often in the world's religions with references in the writings and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The people of Israel crossed the Jordan River into a land "flowing with milk and honey." In times past the honey bee was a symbol for Jesus as the Christ and I once framed an Easter Sunday service around bees, having been a beekeeper myself for a couple of years.
St Ambrose compared the communal life of a Christian community to a beehive, so it shouldn't be surprising that monasteries through the centuries have not only cultivated bees but been pioneers as apiarists. A 19th century Congregationalist minister named Langstroth invented the rectangular hives we're accustomed to seeing along the edges of fields.
European bees are widespread, imports to North America which produce honey and pollinate many crops. There are thousands of different species of bees around the world and many of them are under threat, sad to say. Without them we'd be in a very sticky situation in terms of food production. An astonishing 75% of the planet's crops are pollinated by bees. They include 87 of the leading 115 global food crops with a value of more than $200 billion (US) annually.
Today is World Bee Day (I kid you not) and the theme is Save the Bees. While its important to figure out how to stop poisoning bees out of existence (humans are a menace!) we can also celebrate the importance and wonder of these industrious and exquisite little creatures which somehow strike fear into the hearts of many of us.
I've seen endangered bumble bees in our yard during this past week and it warms my heart. Actually, it's kind of a religious experience.There is now a Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count and you can participate.
Thank God, the Creator, for bees in their marvellous variety, and long may they thrive for their sake and that of so many other creatures!