“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:3
A swarm of thousands of bees suddenly appeared, clinging to a chain link fence near my driveway. It was a beautiful and repulsive marvel and terror. For two days I ran to my car, fearing death by a thousand stings. Slowly, curiosity and awe replaced fear. With car windows up I got as close as I could, watching the shape of the swarm change with the arrival and departure of countless bees.
I googled “bee swarm” in my car and learned that they would stay until a signal was communicated to them by the Queen that it was time to come to their new home. Then and only then would they leave.
I left for a nursing home to visit a dying man who was much beloved by the staff and residents. His family had asked for “a minister.” A nurse in the hallway briefed me, “He just won’t let go and he is suffering.” A stroke had left him unable to speak or move his hands. He was writhing and fear filled his eyes. I sat by his bed and said, “I know about you. You are a wonderful father, veteran, patriot, and citizen. You no longer attend church but you believe in God. I also know you are a fighter. You may continue clinging to this part of your life. But I ask you to consider the possibility that God has prepared a new home for you and something far better than this awaits you once you move on.”
I returned home and drove by the bee swarm. I slipped quickly in the door and looked out my window. And then—just like that!—the swarm departed as quickly and mysteriously as it had arrived. The swarm of bees had been called to their new home. I called the nursing home and asked if Howard was still with us . . .
Queen Jesus, may we swarm together in safety and in peace until you mysteriously signal us that it is time to come home.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York. He blogs at dwightleewolter.com