Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Book, and His Perfect Timing for Good Friday

I read to Prince CuddleBunny every night when I tuck him in... Every night that he gets in bed by a certain time, which turns out to be only a couple of nights a week, as he's often distracted by being part of the 'big boy club' with his brothers.  So when we started this book a few months ago, I had no way of timing when we might finish it.                                                                                                               
Sheep TalesThe book is Sheep Tales by Ken Davis.  One of the two main characters of this book is Edgar, a raven born with cloudy vision.  He had a wonderful mother, though, who loved and trained him, flying with him to teach him to recognize shapes and smells, and who told him of a loving Creator.  The basic survival training stayed with him, but not what she told him of love or hope, when she died tragically, leaving him to face the terrors of his blurry world alone.                                                                                                                             
The other character is Galya, a sheep who befriends Edgar.  Even though Edgar is brash and cold, often ridiculing Galya and questioning all he says and believes, the sheep is steadfast in his friendship and sadness for all Edgar doesn't understand.  We meet Galya just as he is being chosen as the sacrificial lamb for Passover.  While he is in the pen awaiting his fate, Edgar comes to share more discontent, but Galya shares the "Sheep Tales" with the bird...Stories of the Bible from the beginning, but as witnessed through the eyes of animals who were at each scene.                                                                                                                                
It sounds like it might be cutesie and a little hokey, but not at all.  I didn't really find this to be a book particularly written for young children.  There is so much to retrieve from the stories, and so much depth, that I thought it might be beyond Prince CuddleBunny.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fictional stories intermixed with passages of actual Scripture, but thought he might be just enduring it in order for me to stay with him longer.                                                                                                                           
What was really cool in this case was that we read the last few chapters this week.  Earlier in the week we read about a lame little bunny who, although not physically healed, was affected to the soul by his encounter with the newborn Baby King in Bethlehem.  That was the story that started to really crack Edgar's tough shell of fear and anger.  He flew away from Galya to deal with the avalanche of emotion that was building up behind that fractured wall.  Meanwhile Galya was led to his master for a last once-over before the trip to the Temple, so was missing when Edgar was finally able to return, wanting to hear the rest of the Tales.                                                                                                                           
It was then that we found out that Galya was scheduled for Passover sacrifice the week Jesus was on trial... So we now switched from stories of the past to events happening in real-time, according to the story.  The writing allowed me to feel Edgar's desperate feelings of loss, sadness, and despair... to feel Galya's combination of fear and honor... to feel the earthquake and the emotion of the moment of Jesus' crucifixion and the effect on the people who were there.  Edgar followed Jesus from the cross to the tomb, and in his agony stayed put, thinking his only friend, and the Son of God he believed in, were both dead...and that hope was dead.  The Resurrection changed all of that.                                                                                                     
Again, though I was getting a lot from the story, I wasn't sure any of it was resonating with my 7-year-old prince.  But as we finished and discussed it a bit, he seemed to understand the important messages, and just in time for Easter.  I was thankful for the timeliness for some increased appreciation of the reasons we celebrate.  I wished I'd been reading it to the whole family. Prince CuddleBunny said, "I really liked that book."

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. --John 1:9-14
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