May 3, 2022
“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you—never. Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16-17 The Message
Walking towards the Abbey chapel from the retreat house, I spied what I thought were some headstones off to the side. I figured that was where they buried their dead. But as I got closer, I realized they were beehives. Closer still, I could see that each one bore a name, “Ophelia, Rita, Cordelia, Abbigail,” and one I couldn’t quite read without risking a sting.
How amazing that the monks, who sell honey as a source of income, have named the hives! Then again, as people who have dedicated themselves to a life of silence and prayer, interrupted only by chanting prayers 7 times a day, how like God whom they worship. Each time I walked to the chapel, I was reminded of the blessing of the bees, whose work nurtures the lives of plants, and lives of people. I know, I enjoyed the honey so much I brought some home.
All of creation is God’s, from bees to birds to us. The names painted on the hives reminded me that God remembers us, knows our names, and has them (metaphorically) written on the back of his hands. We matter. We are not forgotten. Neither are the victims in Ulvade forgotten. There are 21 white wooden crosses, each bearing the name of one of them.
Each one of us – not just in my family or community or state or nation, but all of us are God’s beloved children. We are here to nurture life, to help pollinate the world around us, to carry “The revelation of God that is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God that are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God that are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God that are plain and easy on the eyes, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:9-10 The Message and NRSV adapted)
Share the sweetness. ~ Anne