Devotional for May 26, 2013 – Trinity Sunday/Hands on Theology: Beekeeping


Written by Courtney McHill, United Methodist Pastor

Bible Background

This Sunday we are moving into a whole new theme that centers on theology in the real world.  We will be exploring different experiential ways to learn about God and what we are passionate about.  Today we are looking at keeping bees. Today is also what we historically call “Trinity Sunday.” How in the world are these two connected? The short answer is…it is all about relationship.

I became fascinated with bees last spring when I went to a workshop to just learn a bit about these creatures.  I got out of the car and was surrounded by bees.  They zoomed around my head, in and out of their hive boxes, and I was taken.  Throughout the day I was amazed by the fact that they knew where to go, who to serve, who was in their family and how community thrived.  Bees are fascinating little creatures! They dance to communicate. They are female-centric. They work hard and then rest. They work for the good of the whole all of the time. They stick together surrounding the queen. Their communities are good for the world.

By the time I got home, I had decided that I would be able to add my help to the world by adding a hive to my backyard.  This year has been a huge learning experience. I sometimes go over to the hive and listening closely with my ears on the hive box. I sometimes just stand outside of their hive and watch as they make bee lines in and out, not worried about me.  When I open up the boxes I watch as they work together and create over and over again.  At the end of the summer, I am eager to harvest some of the sweet honey that is in the box.  I tasted some last year. It was sweet, warm and good.

The Trinity is also all about relationship (much like the church should model itself after in some ways).  The Trinity is where God is one and God is three.  There is a relationship between the variations of God and it is open to include us. Jesus starts to touch on how God appears in the gospel of John.  A Spirit advocate represents God to Jesus’ disciples.  The Spirit is God much like Jesus and God and yet they are all one.  Confusing, right?  In all of this, the Trinitarian relationship is just waiting to engulf us in its embrace.

This is unlike any relationship we have ever encountered and yet it tells us at the base of our faith, relationship lies much like how the honeybee exists. In the end, there will be sweet honey, a symbol in Deuteronomy of subsistence on the land and bountiful goodness from God. I would agree with our writers on that!

Quotes for the Week

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” ― Henry David Thoreau

“The world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee’s temper. Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.” ― Sue Monk Kidd

“A healthy community is a form that includes all the local things that are connected by the larger, ultimately mysterious form of the Creation. In speaking of community, then, we are speaking of a complex connection not only among human beings or between humans and their homeland but also between human economy and nature, between forest or prairie and field or orchard, and between troublesome creatures and pleasant ones. All neighbors are included” ― Wendell Berry

“I dreamt — marvellous error! — that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.” ― Antonio Machado

Deuteronomy 8:7-14 (NRSV)                                                                                                                      For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

John 16: 12-15 (NRSV)                                                                                                                                                      I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’

Questions for the Week    

 What do you think about the concept of the Trinity?

Where do you find your relationship with God represented?


About pastorcourt

Courtney McHill is the pastor at Rose City Park United Methodist Church in Northeast Portland where they love compassionately and inclusively!
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