23rd July

Releasing A Blessing

I promise that I will give you a land which is flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:8

We know that God frequently promised to bring the people of Israel to a land full of honey, which meant a land full of blessing. And we know that Celtic Christians frequently invited God to give blessings to the land, which included lots of honey. But what happened to Modomnoc, who is celebrated today, is the ultimate in generous blessing.

Modomnoc, who is said to have come from Ireland’s great O’Neill family, came to study under David at his Pembrokeshire monastery. One of his duties during his many years there was bee-keeping, an essential part of the monastery’s provision, which he had greatly developed. When the time came for him to return to Ireland, the whole monastery had a prayer time with him, and sent him on his way with God’s blessings, but unfortunately the entire swarm of bees followed him and settled on his boat. Bee keepers know the effort required to get a swarm of bees back into their hive. Modomnoc succeeded in doing this, and a day or two later, he repeated his farewells and set out again for the boat. The same thing happened all over again and Modomnoc once again painstakingly returned the bees.

Modomnoc went back to David, and suggested that he hang around until the bees were tired and sleepy, and then he would quietly slip away. His return afforded another opportunity for all the brothers to pray over him and invite God’s blessings on him and his new ministry in Ireland. This time, as David prayed, he realised that God intended the bees to be part of the blessing he was to give to Ireland. So David started to pray for the bees in the words of the blessing below. David’s twelfth century biographer observed that the blessing had been fulfilled completely, that bees sent back from Ireland had dwindled to nothing in Wales, and the bees in Ireland, which had previously had no reputation for bees, had flourished beyond measure. Think about the blessings you are meant to give. Why not adapt this blessing for a person or place God is asking you to pray for? Remember, however, that in order to bless another you may need to release to them something that is precious to you.

May the land to which you are journeying
Abound with your offspring.
May you for ever leave our land and your offspring never increase here.
But may they never fail to increase in the land to which you go

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