"Grammy look, what is that?" The young girl had seen very few flying insects in her few short years, but this one was quite unique. Young Jaime would often spend time with her dying grandmother on the weekends, cherishing what seemed to be her last days. They didn't know exactly what was wrong with Grammy. Some said she had lost her will to live.
The old woman turned from her usual faraway stare, and looked towards Jaime, who was delightedly studying this very interesting little creature, which was now crawling across her dessert. Jaime turned to Grammy and watched with great surprise as the old woman's eyes widened as a big toothless smile brightened her wrinkled countenance for the first time in a long, long time.
"What is it Grammy?"
"It can't be, but it is... I thought they were all gone," the old woman whispered excitedly as she looked closer at the little creature.
"You've seen one of these before?"
"Oh my, yes, I can't believe it... It's a honey bee!"
Grammy stretched her withered hand out towards the little bee, which crawled up onto her finger.
"Grammy, I thought there was no such thing as a honey bee. My friend told me they were mythical creatures, like the unicorn or the hummingbird."
Grammy's mind flashed back to a day long, long ago on her family farm. She remembered her father's deep dismay as he tossed his empty bee boxes on the bonfire. He had tried so hard to keep his hives from dying, but one by one they were lost. Some said it was the mites, others said it was a "super virus" that killed the bees, still others blamed the cell phones that put signals in the air that confused the bees. Whatever it was, they were all gone. Her father turned to her and spoke in a way that sent shivers up her spine, "The bees are dying; it's the end of the world." She would never forget his words, or the distressed look in his eyes.
As a young girl, she took great delight in the honeybees. She would help her father to tend the hives, and extract the sweet, delicious honey when the time came. He taught her all about the amazing way of the bees, how they all worked together for the good of the hive. Each bee had an important job to do in the hive. They were all necessary and needed to do their part. Some bees took care of the upkeep of the hive, others cared for the young, others went out to collect nectar from the nearby flowers, other stood as guards to protect the hive, others were responsible to keep the temperature of the hive just right, others cared for the queen as she was continually bringing forth new life.
But something came in to hurt the bees. It was a great mystery. Modern science stepped in to save the bees, even creating mutant strains of disease-resistant bees, but as time went by it became apparent they were fighting a losing battle. In many cases, scientists found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi -- a sign, experts said, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed.
Then they were gone.
Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." Others scoffed pointing to all the other food sources available, including mushrooms, algae, kelp, shellfish, sponges, octopus, shark, whale, lichen, and fir trees.
Like every other world crisis, the demise of the honeybee created a quite a stir in the media for a short time, but then life went on, and man continued to adapt to the changes in his world. Large corporations moved in to take advantage of the opportunities that opened up as the traditional food chain continued to unravel at an increasing pace. "Thank heaven for technology and science!" they proclaimed, "for saving the human race from extinction."
It was considered a miracle of modern science that new synthetic "foods" were finally able to be produced on a massive scale, very consistently and inexpensively, even leading to the end of world hunger. Man was rescued from his subjection to the fragile balance of nature, whose tyranny he had suffered under for so long. Some even speculated that the honeybees had served their purpose for a time, but God had to destroy them in order to open up the way for the new world order -- abundant food and careless ease for all.1
But somehow, as the years went by, Grammy wasn't happy in this new "social" order which seemed increasingly anti-social to her. Life was never the same again after her little friends, the honeybees died. Ironically, as time went on, even though man seemed to have achieved world peace and prosperity, he was increasingly insecure, anxious, and unkind. But thanks to great advances in pharmaceutical "social enhancement" supplements, science was able to nearly eliminate depression and "guilty feelings."
Grammy didn't like how those things seemed to rob people of their last connection with reality. But what was worse to her was what she called the "feel good sermons" served up every Sunday morning by "those pushers of them Jesus pills." Though she hated false religion, Grammy believed in One she called, "the God of creation." She would often walk in the garden, or contemplate the sunset, or stop to watch a ladybug crawl along a leaf. She would talk to her God. But, sadly, as the witness of creation diminished from the earth, so did Grammy's zeal for living. Yet she carried a secret hope, against all hope, that somehow her Creator had a plan to restore the true way of life, the original pristine way. In her mind it was the only way life could be -- the way it was created to be.
With her last breath Grammy thanked her God that He had given her a sign of hope -- that little honeybee, which must certainly have come from a living beehive. For honeybees cannot live apart from the life of the hive, any more than a believer can live apart from the social life of Community.
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common. (Acts 2:44)
The life of the followers of Yahshua the Messiah, in the first century, could be compared to the life of a beehive -- where every member was vitally needed and necessary for the life of the Community.2 They shared all they had because of their love for one another.3 They shared a common vision and purpose, because they were all led by the same Spirit.4 They were called "the Way"5 because they followed in the way of Abraham6 -- turning their hearts to their children, by the grace of the One they followed who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
The Hebrew word for beehive or swarm is edah, which also means community, congregation, or witness.7 For a brief moment in history their life together was a witness -- a living demonstration of the good news of the Kingdom of God. This abundant life was the witness that Yahshua prophesied would reach to the ends of the earth, bringing the end of the age and His return.8
But something crept in mysteriously to the first-century church, gradually bringing about its demise. You can read the sad story through the epistles of the New Testament,9 and finally in Revelation 2 and 3 and the Book of James, where the last few warnings were given by the Holy Spirit before their candlestick was taken away.10 The light faded and nightfall came.11 Then there was darkness for 1900 years.
Something continued on after "the life of the hive" of the communities of the first church ended. It was engineered to have a form of godliness, yet without the power to truly save.12 It became what is known today as Christianity. They have a reputation of being alive, but they are dead,13 trying to live off of an alternative food source rather than the bread of heaven.
But the only way the Way can be is the way it was when it was called the Way. When you meet a true disciple, you can know there is a true community of believers who share all things in common.14 There is a little candlelight is glowing in this dying world. It's time to build the hive.15