I love David Attenborough. Nature documentaries are one of my life’s indulgences. I learn so much from TV shows – if school had taken on this method of teaching I would probably be some sort of “-ologist” by now.
A few years ago I watched a few shows online – I have no idea if they were Attenborough or something else, but I remember a few things from them well – they featured bees and pyrosomes. One I was familiar with, one was new to me, but these two examples from nature taught me a lot about community and how to live.
P Y R O S O M E S
These are tiny bio-luminescent creatures that group together to make a 20m long giant!
On their own, the individual ocean tidbits really don’t amount to much other than a snack, but they know where their strength lies – when they come together.
The body is greater than the sum of its parts.
When the creatures join together they make a tubular sea monster that glows when under attack to scare off predators.
The lesson: We are stronger together. Alone we are insignificant, when we come together we are strong. Similar to the pyrosomes, when we’re under attack we have the capacity, the potential, to shine a light to scare off our predators. That is the light of Jesus.
B E E S
Obviously we’ve all heard of bees and are actually quite knowledgeable about them. But I want to put a spin on what we know…
Bees are colony -based animals. They are known for swarming and for working together.
Bees serve a queen. All they do is for her, and to protect her.
They are built that way. They instinctively go out, gather nectar, and bring it back to the hive, pollinating plants as they go. It’s what they do.
We are similar. Although we, as Christians, serve the King – Jesus. We choose to bring what we have into the Church to strengthen the body, by our own will rather than by design.
Although bees don’t have much choice in what they do, one area of “freedom” they do retain is where they gather their nectar from.
Going back to the show I was watching – it featured a selection of bees in New York and in France documented to be making bright green, red and purple honey and it was all down to where they were gathering their “nectar”.
The bees in New York were getting their nectar from a nearby factory which made glacé cherries. There was a reddish residue around the chimney from the evaporating steam which bees were being drawn to due to the sweetness. The red honey that was collected was far too sweet for human consumption, so probably not great for the bees either.
In France there was an example of bees creating honey all the colours of the rainbow. After investigating, it was found that bees were flying over a waste disposal/treatment plant and feasting on M&M shells dumped by the local manufacturing plant that had the same draw as the glacier cherry residue.
The lesson: Basically, the bees are just going about their daily business doing what they think is right – working hard, serving their monarch, producing delectable goods. But actually there’s a problem; they’re being led astray, following the herd, trying to stand out, whichever it is, they are falling foul to a mistake!
We do this all the time. We do what the done thing is, or the thing that’s in front of us, but we should be looking to produce our best at all times. Not cut corners. We need to focus doing our best – that’s where the outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes in, and displaying Jesus in our every day. We just have to focus on what is right.
Philippians 4:8 tells us:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 tells us:
Unity and diversity in the body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptised by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 And so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.