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We are our brothers’ keepers

Pastor Mark Holmes

 One morning in 2006, Dave Hackenberg, a professional beekeeper from Lewisburg, Pa., went out to inspect his beehives, discovering that 80 percent of his bee boxes were empty for no known reason. He contacted the agricultural department at Penn State University and so began the recognition of a problem called Colony Collapse Disorder that is seriously decimating the honeybee population.

It is not unusual for beekeepers to lose hives of bees in the course of the year, but Colony Collapse Disorder is different. It not only causes massive losses, but the boxes are found completely empty of bees. This vacancy and high percentage of loss signaled beekeepers and scientist that something new was afoot.

Research continues into this problem, but initial findings presented honey bees in an unexpected way. Our general assumption was that they were basically healthy. However, as scientists looked closer, they discovered bees chronically suffer from the effects of disease, pesticides and parasites. Honey bees are really in poor health.

Outward appearances can be misleading. It is easy to mistake a smile for an "all is well" statement, when deeper within, the individual is struggling. Assumption is the culprit that misleads us. Because we observe no contradicting signs, we assume the person is doing fine. It is only by taking time to inquire more intently, that we discover our first glance was deceiving.

How are the people you encounter in your daily life? Are they doing all right? Do you know, by assumption or inquiry?

Remember, we are our brother’s keepers.

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.

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