- The Washington Times - Monday, August 28, 2000

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. David Sparrow at Lee Memorial AME Church in Kensington, Md.

Last week I was stung twice by a bee; not just once, like people say. And it made me think of the reference to bees in our reading today [Psalms 118:12]. David said of his enemies, "They surrounded me like bees, they blazed like a fire of thorns." But they lost their life with their string.

In this sense, bees are our enemy. But bees are mentioned many times in the Bible, and they have many ways and characteristics that humans could take after. Bees, as you know, are wonderful little workers. I saw a beehive at the Howard County Fair, and they just kept going and coming.

They worked together. From the bees we can learn that the load is never heavy when we work together. We can work together, sing together, pray together and love each other.

Bees are lovers of their homes, just as the Christian should be. Bees are lovers of cleanliness. We strive for that, too. In the church, would you let a book or paper lay on the floor? And like our home and church, our lives must be clean before God. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the pure, for they shall see God."

One bee has been known to carry a sick bee on its back. They care for each other. The Christian, too, needs to show this sympathy at the time of sickness or death. The Christian, like the bee, can gather food and shelter for the needy.

Did you know also that the bees find happiness in their work? We have all kinds of joy and happiness to draw on as well in the service of the Lord, in our workplace, our classrooms and at home. You should be able to find that joy here today, at worship. Bees are seekers of the beautiful and the sweet. Flowers, clover and fruit. And there is a sweet spirit in this place. I know it is the spirit of the Lord. Sweet expressions on each face. Like the clover or flower, Jesus is sweeter than anything we know.

Bees live a hard and busy life. The child of God does not have an easy life either, and it is busy with good works. You should be able to bring souls to the rock of ages, to tell someone about Jesus.

Now, let's look at the "be's" of the Bible. They are numerous. The be's of the Bible never sting, but yield honey and are found together in great swarms. Be kind, one to another. Let us be sober and watch unto prayer. Bees are always sober, and watch to protect themselves. If we are sober, we can watch for the moment to protect, help or pray for someone. Paul says we should be contented in everything we do. The bees are. Don't worry about what someone else has, can do, what they know or where they live. Be contented where you are. Make the best of all.

There's another be that might hurt us sometimes. Be strong in the Lord. You are in the hands of the Lord, and He will watch over you. The bee's life is short, and so also your life is short. So be strong in the Lord, overcome and make it. Why? Because God will see you through. There is plenty of honey, plenty of good and beautiful things, for all God's children.

Another is this: Be courteous. Like a bee, let us always show good manners and be polite. Treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. And look to God for that divine guidance. Be not wise in your own self-assessment. We can too easily overestimate our own abilities. Don't think more of yourself than you really are. Don't think you know it all and that others know nothing. Feel that, by the grace of God, I am what I am.

Here's another be. Be not unmindful to entertain strangers. Bees are friendly with each other, aren't they? So why not befriend the stranger in our church, or on the street? Tell them Jesus is here, and He loves us. Finally, be followers of God. Follow the Lord as the bees do. If you were a bee, someone would follow you to church. Everyone wants to land on the beautiful flower of Jesus Christ.

Next week: a sermon by Bishop Paul S. Loverde at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Va.

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