By coincidence, my attention has been caught several times this week by bees, which led me to reflecting on how complex our natural world is, and how challenging that can sometimes be – no pun intended.

 

My attention was first caught by an advertisement from the environmental charity, Friends of the Earth, for a Christmas gift, a ‘Christmas Bee Saver Kit’, designed to help provide food and habitat for bees. As well as some small ‘Christmas goodies’ the kit contains materials for making a ‘bee-hotel’, a garden planner to help make your garden ‘bee friendly,’ a pack of wild flower seeds to provide food, and a bee ID guide to identify the bee species that visit or take up residence. For a long time, scientists and conservation bodies have been telling us that globally bee species are in serious decline; apparently since 1900, 13 bee species in the UK have become extinct and another 35 species are on the threatened species list. Apart from the fact that loss of biodiversity is always worrying, scientists remind us how much of our food, and that of other species, is dependent on bees for pollination. This kit is hopefully a small step towards further raising awareness and helping conservation efforts.

 

This year, partly as a response to my concern for the plight of bees, I have been learning a little about keeping honey bees. To try to increase the food available for them next spring and summer, we decided to try to change a patch of docks and long grass near the hives into a wild flower garden. But as I dug out the roots of dock plants, I found myself reflecting on what makes something a ‘weed’ or a ‘flower.’ Docks are ‘weeds’ as far as our proposed wild flower patch is concerned, but is some other species threatened by my digging them out? I simply don’t know. And I reflected that many of the ‘flowers’ from our gardens would be ‘weeds’ as far as our bee garden is concerned. That led me to much more profound reflection about how we judge the worth of all sorts of other things, including people, asking myself questions such as, ‘Do we have the right to judge the worth of anything and, if we do, what criteria can or should we use?’ And ‘What are the consequences of either judging, or refraining from doing so?’

 

  • Are species important because of their usefulness to us, or for some other reason?

  • How do you decide how important a cause, or a species, or a person, is?

  • In what ways do you see yourself as either a ‘flower’ or a ‘weed’?

 

Prayer for the week - 16th November 2017

 

 

Last week the tax dealings of the super-rich and many large companies became headline news after a leak of 13.4 million files. These ‘paradise papers’ relate to the way in which money has often been placed in offshore accounts, in ‘island paradises’ such as the Bahamas, to avoid tax.

 

 

On Tuesday evening, I was one of the 7.7 million viewers to watch the anxiety and the excitement of the final of the Great British Bake Off. And, as I’m sure others did too, I rejoiced at the success of the winner, and shared the disappointment of the runners up.

 

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