The need for a Queen

In all of life’s aspects there is a hierarchy. In the working sector, there is the manager, and the manager has a supervisor directly under him (or her). Under the supervisor, there is sometimes a team or shift leader, and then finally there’s the base level worker.

I’ve had several roles, in all of those positions. I’ve been a standard worker, just chugging along. I’ve also been a team leader and a trainer, helping the new hires get acclimated to the job. I was even a supervisor for a brief moment in my life. Now as a truck driver, it’s just me and the road. Sure, I have my boss and my supervisor… but 90% of the time, I’m left to my own devices. The extra time is great (for the most part) and it allows me to think about and engage (either through conversation or audio book) in other topics while working. Thanks to my unique schedule, I have developed quite a few different hobbies, thanks in part to the things I learn while driving.

One of the things I like to do when I’m not behind the wheel, is beekeeping. I have two hives set up at my sister in law’s house. Bees are fascinating creatures. They are self sufficient and do wonders for the environment, and they are a major help when it comes to food production. Unfortunately, honey bees are also having a really tough time right now. Honey bees not only have to defend their colonies from pests and mites and other diseases, they also have to deal with pesticides and pollution. Besides the terrible Varroa Mite, humans are the biggest threat to honey bees at the moment. An over use of pesticides (some incorrectly sprayed), man made pollution, climate change and habitat loss are all driving honey bee numbers into the ground. In fact, 2017 actually set a record, with 40% of all bee colonies in the United States dying throughout the year. This is actually up from 33% the previous year!

I started keeping honey bees a few months ago. I thought it would be a great way to offer bees wax and other honey products for Harmonious Goat. Harmonious Goat is the business my wife and I set up for the home made, natural soaps she makes. (shameless plug, please check out Harmonious Goat, my wife Emily makes quite a few different varieties of hand soaps and lotions, and they’re really, really good without all the harsh chemicals from store bought soaps) One of the first things I had to do when I first got my bees, was install them into their new homes. First I had to gently dump the bees from the package they came in, to the bottom hive box. Then very carefully, it was time to install the queen. She came in a small wooden box with a wire mesh acting as a window. This allowed the worker bees to get used to the new queen and allowed for a slower introduction. The exit to this wooden box was filled with a bit of candy taffy. It would take the worker bees about three days to eat their way through the candy plug and release the queen from her confinement. As soon as she was released however, she got to work laying eggs.

Without a Queen, a colony will collapse. She is the most important part of a honey bee hive. All the other workers and drones live to help and serve her and the rest of the hive. The queen is the only bee that can lay fertilized eggs. Unfertilized honey bee eggs can still hatch, but they will only grow into drones. Unlike worker bees who are all female, drone bees are strictly male. Drones only have one job, and that is to mate with the queen. They don’t do anything else, just mate with the queen and then fly around vising other drones at different hives (what a life!)

However, when winter rolls around, the other worker bees will drag the drones and kick them out of the hive. The hive is quickly sealed up, and the drones are left outside to freeze to death. Then the queen and her many thousands of daughters will gather themselves into a ball and though body heat, they’ll do their best to stay alive during the winter.

The queen is truly amazing. Like I said in my last paragraph, without her, the hive will struggle. Life for a honeybee is better when she has a queen. And so is my life, when I pray to my queen… The Theotokos.

I was thinking about this earlier, and was contemplating the similarities between the two. A colony of honey bees, helping the human race, pollinating our crops and providing us with honey, will not thrive with out their queen. It is the same when it comes to the Theotokos. Without Mary, would there even be salvation? I know you could argue that God could have easily just picked another handmaiden, and then Christ would have been born. But God chose Mary, and Mary gave birth to God in the flesh. Without her, life (as we know it) would be totally different. Mary is our queen. During the time of King David, a Jewish king would usually have his mother as his queen, rather than his wife, because he rarely had one wife, but many. Sharing power with so many wives would be way too difficult, but since he only had one mother, she would be given the title of Queen.  Since Jesus is a King based on the order of David, it makes sense that His mother would be called Queen. In fact, Relevations actually points out that Mary is queen.

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Relevations 12:1

“She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne.” Revelations 12:5

In my research for this post, I came across a few sayings regarding the Theotokos from some of the Earlier Church Fathers.

“Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me.” St. Ephrem the Syrian (4th Century)

“the Queen of mortal man, the most holy Mother of God.” Patriarch St. Modestus of Jerusalem (7th Century)

And in a sermon about the death of Mary, “Today He transports from her earthly dwelling, as Queen of the human race, His ever-Virgin Mother, from whose womb He, the living God, took on human form.Archbishop St. Andrew of Crete (8th Century)

I know that when I ask our most Holy, Lady Theotokos, she hears my prayers and in her own time, she sends her help. I also know that without her, there would be no salvation as we know it. Glory to you oh most holy lady, and thank you for all of your intercessions.

Until next time my friends, bee good!

-Orthodox Trucker

†

Can you spot the Queen? Hint: She’s a bit larger and all black.

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