Of honeybees and world food supply

A Christian Science perspective.

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).

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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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.