Today is the summer solstice: the longest day of the year and the first official day of summer.
(BTW: It will be very apparent that summer is here to those with me in the Northeast…)
So in the spirit of summer (and for a moment forgetting about the upcoming General Convention), what are some of the special “summer moments” upcoming in the lives of Episcopalians? Old traditions? New innovations? Or just summer fun?
To get everyone started, here is the New York Times reporting on the “Blessing of the Bees”:
On Tuesday morning, witnesses to a ceremony at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine were encouraged to wear long sleeves, long pants and socks. The subjects of this holy event were about 15,000 honeybees that live on the church’s campus in Morningside Heights.
This year’s unusually busy swarm season in New York City has attracted some unwanted attention to the hardworking insect, but Tuesday’s event provided it with some good publicity.
Moments before the Rev. Mark S. Sisk, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, began the brief ceremony, puffs of pine smoke wafted through the air to sedate the bees.
The bishop opened his red leather Bible and recited a prayer he had written for the occasion:
“As we gather to bless these bees, your own well-blest creatures, may the intensity of their self-offering lives awaken in us a reminder of the fruitfulness that such self-offering promises to yield in our own human community. May their vulnerability remind us both of our duty to them and of the vulnerability that touches all things. May the sweetness of their honey remind us of the sweetness of your love for them, for us, for all people, and of the bending infinity of Creation itself.”
And with a wave of some freshly picked leaves dipped in holy water and a sign of the cross, Bishop Sisk blessed the hive that took up residence on the grounds last month.