This morning I woke up to hear the news report on the radio that beekeepers in France were mystified with their honey harvest, instead of sweet fragrant honey, they opened their hives to discover some green and blue inedible product filling the honeycomb. Samples of that “honey” are seen in the photo above.
The Ottawa Citizen reports:
MULHOUSE, France, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Bees at a cluster of apiaries in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M’s candy processed at a nearby biogas plant is the cause.
Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace have seen bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colourful substances that have turned their honey unnatural shades.
Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km (2.5 miles) away has been processing waste from a Mars plant producing M&M’s, bite-sized candies in bright red, blue, green, yellow and brown shells.
Asked about the issue, Mars had no immediate comment.
This evening I read a friend’s blog (http://thenext500years.wordpress.com) on which he commented on the state of the church, and that we allow toxic people and situations to dominate because we are afraid to speak the truth, and to challenge the words and actions of others.
This morning I read the blog by the leadership freak…. http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com, who reflected on the 12 behaviors that hold you back from succeeding. #1 on the list is avoidance, which he calls the path to mediocrity.
These things, along with an ongoing situation that I am struggling to understand how to address, have been very much on my mind. I and others have attempted to bring a resolution to the problem and have only made things worse. It is time to bring the revelation of God’s Spirit and his power to prevail and quit being nice to avoid full out conflict.
This evening it is beginning to gel in my thinking. It seems to me to be linked to what is called “cheap grace”. We have taught and tolerated for far too long, that it is all okay, it’s all under the blood. Cheap forgiveness is not real forgiveness, and it does us all a disservice because we begin to believe and act as if our words and actions don’t really matter. The blood of Jesus covers all.
The real problem is that we have gotten lazy in our faith.
Those bees in France had options. They lived in an area that was known for its bounty of crops and blossoms that make highly prized honey. Instead, they went for the easy food, the sugar and food color laden residue found outside the factory.
We, as Christians, have options. We have been given everything that we need for life and for ministry. We have God’s word, worship, and prayer, which under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will give us all the spiritual nourishment we need to have productive, faithful, fruit-filled lives and mission. Jesus speaking to his disciples said, Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3: 8 (NIV) The New Living Translation puts it this way: Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.
People complain that they don’t understand Scripture and so for that reason they have stopped reading it. Bible Study has given way to faith discussion groups. Prayer in the home too often consists of “grace” or bedtime prayers that we have known and repeated since childhood. Even worse the world teaches that all spiritual practices are of equal value. People are flocking to those spiritual practices that are easy and which makes them feel good.
Like those bees we have choices, and if we choose the easily available pap that the world offers us, we will have nothing of substance or value to share in the ministry to which God calls us.
It is time for us to examine our souls, to deeply examine our souls, using the criteria of God’s Word. In Proverbs we read: The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive. Proverbs 20: 27 New Living Translation
When we avoid the light and easy spiritual practices in favor of deep coming to know God, we grow mature spiritually. Study and meditation on Scripture is crucial for our Spiritual Growth. Time put into our prayers, where we speak praise of God, ask guidance from God, ask God to help us understand his will in relationship to our will and above all LEARN TO LISTEN FOR GOD is the spiritual work to which we are all called. Sadly we have not all responded.
The lack of spiritual maturity is a problem in the church that has long weighed heavily on me. Prayer, Worship, Spiritual Growth, Knowing God in a deep soul satisfying way are those things on which I passionately preach and teach…. but as long as people think it is too difficult to practice the Spiritual Disciplines and prefer an easier path, we will never grow spiritually. And if we never grow spiritually our congregations will be full of blue and green toxic sludge and we will not be the place of nourishment that God intends us to be. Instead we tolerate members and even leaders whose words and actions harms the church and frustrates God’s Spirit.
Cleaning up the toxic sludge begins with me and it begins with you. We cannot allow the church to fail because we haven’t taught, haven’t called out those who need to be called out and haven’t disciplined one another in the Spirit of the Lord.
What I pray for is a day when the church wakes up and realizes that they need to take up the basics of faith, be baptized in the Spirit and rushes out of the upper room to claim a new and exciting ministry. Let us begin with our own hearts, our own acts of mercy and grace, our own words, and our own calling as ministers in the Kingdom of God’s Grace.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5: 22