Of honeybees and world food supply

A Christian Science perspective.

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Pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths, as well as bats and birds, are a critical part of our planet’s ecosystem – the interconnected structure of life. In fact, one-third of humans’ food comes from insect-pollinated plants. In the process of collecting pollen and nectar to sustain themselves, pollinators help plants reproduce by spreading their pollen. And, in turn, the plants’ fruits and seeds provide food for other animals and people.

Consequently, many people (particularly backyard beekeepers like me) are celebrating the sixth annual Pollinator Week (June 18-24) by doing such things as planting more varieties of flowers, buying more organically grown food, and eliminating the use of pesticides in our gardens. These actions help feed pollinators and prevent harm to them. But given recent news of spring honeybee die-offs in the Midwestern United States (apparently related to the sowing of pesticide-coated corn), I’m also taking time to specifically pray for these small creatures.

I’ve found prayer helps by lifting my thought to a spiritual standpoint, giving a clearer view of the situation and needed solutions. In this case, prayer can lift one to see Earth’s ecosystem as a reflection of the kingdom of heaven, and all life on earth (humans and honeybees included) as part of God’s harmonious creation. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, neatly summarized this spiritual perspective when she wrote, “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 514).

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In considering how to pray about this issue, I’ve found guidance in the insights Christ Jesus shared on the nature of the kingdom of heaven and how we can find (experience) it. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus stated that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (10:7). It’s not a far-off locale, distant or inaccessible, but here and now, as close as our consciousness of it. He also explained that it can’t be contaminated or destroyed, no matter how many tares (weeds) may appear to be strewn across our field of vision to block the view (see Matthew 13:24-30). And Jesus advised that the kingdom of heaven is worth finding, like hidden treasure or a “pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:46), and that this can be done by treasuring and repenting. 

So my prayer for the pollinators begins with simply cherishing each expression of God’s life-filled creation, even the tiniest of pollinating insects. This growing appreciation and love for all God’s creation helps align thought with God, divine Love, and facilitates the process of “repenting” – turning – from the worldly news of discord and destruction to the eternal facts of God’s harmless, indestructible, spiritual creation.

This treasuring and turning then frees thought from fears for human food supplies (which often drive the use of pesticides) and for the pollinators and leads to more helpful actions. Clearer, more “God-aligned” thought opens naturally into Love-aligned actions, both in terms of food production and in peaceful coexistence with all creation, and we glimpse the kingdom of heaven at hand.

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