Five minutes into my sermon, when the girl on the fourth pew shrieked and threw her hands in the air, I knew that this would not be our typical Sunday at church. We’re normally a fairly sedate lot, but there was excitement in the air that day. Unfortunately, the excitement was not coming from my sermon. Instead, it was caused by a flying insect.
It had buzzed the girl in the fourth row and moved on across the auditorium. Heads ducked and hands swatted as it zoomed past. And, of course, everybody on the other side found the scene hilarious until the thing turned and headed back their way. All eyes were on the intruder. I was pretty certain that meant that no ears were still tuned to anything I was saying. I was being upstaged by a bug!
As it happened, this bug was a yellow jacket. So it’s not surprising that he was causing such a stir. Nobody wanted to be stung. Even if it meant diving under a pew in one’s best Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes during the middle of church, so be it. Forget decorum and dignity; self-preservation was the rule of the moment.
We were rescued by one of our deacons. A professional exterminator, he was the right man at the right place when the bee landed on his son. Summoning his years of training and experience, he thumped the bug and killed it. I’m wondering how much the bill will be.
I’m also wishing that I had been quick enough on my feet to incorporate the whole episode into the sermon that morning. After all, we had just witnessed one of the reasons we should love the Lord. The most painful sting we face is the sting of death. We duck and dive and spend every penny we can scrape together to postpone it and avoid it. But we know it’s coming.
Yet, the apostle Paul asked long ago, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55). It was gone. By his resurrection, Jesus Christ plucked the stinger from the bee.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).
That thought should put some excitement in the air on Sunday, and every other day.