In the year 2000, I wrote a book entitled Sheep Tales – Bible stories told from the perspective of the animals who were there. It became our best selling book ever. The book revolves around Galya, a sheep that has been chosen for sacrifice and his friend Edgar, a cynical half blind raven.
Before Galya can finish telling Edgar the story’s about God that have been passed down through the flock, he is led away to be sacrificed. Edgar searches frantically for his friend then in a rage seeks to find and destroy this one called the messiah.
He finally finds Jesus and actually watches him die. In the story that follows we find Edgar high in a tree staring at Jesus’ tomb through his clouded eyes as he mourns his friend Galya. But Edgar is about to have the “eye opening” surprise of his life.
This is a little longer than most posts but I know you will enjoy this unique perspective of the gospel truth.
Edgar had dozed momentarily, and the arrival of the guards startled him. He beat his wings against the air to regain his balance, trying desperately to see what they were doing. Oh, how he wished he could see clearly!
After some angry words and a sharp command, most of the soldiers left. But it was obvious that two or more of them had been left behind to guard the tomb. Occasionally Edgar could hear their whispers and see vague movement below.
Edgar went to sleep that night wondering why anyone would find it necessary to guard a grave. It didn’t really matter, of course; tomorrow would put an end to all questions. And as he closed his eyes, he realized something new: the king in the grave below had been his last hope. Somehow Edgar sensed this with a deep certainty. They called him the Son of God, and he was the one who made sacrifices, and life itself, worthwhile. Glubber the whale’s experience of forgiveness; Beldone, the arrogant sheep that replaced Abraham’s son as a sacrifice, God’s promise to Abraham, the impact of the baby king on a tiny bunny and the world–all the Sheep Tales offered small glimpses of this king, who had set out to bring hope to all those like Edgar who needed healing.
But the king was dead!
The guards spoke in hushed tones and shifted nervously as the light slowly faded from the sky. Before he slept Edgar decided that tomorrow he would leave his perch and fly until he could fly no more. Wherever he fell to the ground would be the place he would die. Edgar had no ideas about what might come after death, but he was convinced that it could not be worse than life without hope. If only the Sheep Tales had been true.
That night, a jumble of dreams paraded through Edgar’s fitful sleep. He dreamed of the days when his mother was alive. She was soaring with him over the mountains and valleys, cheerfully describing what she saw below, and telling him about the caring creator who made it all.
He dreamed of Galya and the excited glimmer in his friend’s eyes as he told the Sheep Tales so filled with hope.
He also dreamed of the dying king, whose voice seemed so near. Edgar heard the cry, “It is finished,” echoing endlessly in his dreams, each time in a different tone that hinted at some deeper meaning. What was it? What was finished?
Then he dreamed of an earthquake and savage bolts of lightning. He shook himself, tried to cast the images away and restore the dreams of his mother, but the lightning persisted. It scorched the air with one great, continuous burst of light.
Edgar’s eyes flew open. He was wide awake. The tree in which he sat was swaying violently. The earthquake was real–so was the great burst of light. The blinding radiance was coming directly from the tomb, and it was painful to Edgar’s eyes. He closed them tightly, but the light couldn’t be shut out. It broke right through his eyelids.
When Edgar dared to look again, his heart raced with fear and excitement. The whole world had come to life in vibrant, beautiful detail. He saw, above the tomb, a dazzling figure–a great, shining creature in the form of a man, but far more beautiful and powerful. The two guards below drew their swords, took several steps backward, and collapsed to the ground. Edgar could see the emotions on their faces and the colors of their eyes.
Thinking he might still be dreaming, Edgar blinked hard. When he opened his eyes again, he could still see it all–the trees, the tomb, the waving grass and the morning sunlight–all in perfect, crystal-clear detail. He now understood that the light from the manlike being was so brilliant that it carried the images completely through the hazy clouds that obscured his vision.
Just then, the light intensified a thousand times as the figure made a sweeping motion with his hand. Edgar gasped. With a grinding groan, the huge stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. Edgar could see inside the burial chamber.
There, standing in the door of death, was Life itself.
The man who had been dead–not a king, but The King–was alive. A smile shone from his radiant face as he stepped from the tomb; it broadened as he seemed to glance, for a flicker of a moment, in Edgar’s direction. Then, as quickly as he had come, the risen King was gone. But the beautiful light remained, and so did the beautiful creature.
Edgar wept. It seemed he had been doing a lot of that, but these were unlike any tears he had ever felt on his face. For the first time in his life, Edgar wept for joy. The light of the King had made it all the way through his cloudy eyes to the deepest recesses of his bitter heart.
Edgar had seen the Son of God. His sweet friend Galya had been right all along–there was a reason for living with hope, and dying with hope, as Galya had.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene
and the other Mary went to look at the tomb . . .
The angel said to the women,
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples:
‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.
There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
After the women left, Edgar sat for some time pondering all that had happened. Slowly it dawned on him that even though the beautiful creature and the brilliant light were gone, he could see! The world was no longer shades of gray; it was filled with dazzling color. Objects were not hazy, featureless forms; they had sharp, defined edges. Edgar watched in amazement as a beetle made its way along the ground, and he suddenly realized he was very hungry. He flew from his perch and landed easily beside his meal.
After eating, Edgar leapt into the air with a screech of joy and soared higher and higher until he was circling far above the treetops. In the distance, he saw three crosses silhouetted against the bright blue sky. He flew there and circled above them. It didn’t take him long to realize that this was the place where he had seen the King die three days before. He also saw that his perch had not been a dead tree limb, but a crude scaffold of death.
Edgar landed again on that perch. Sadness crept through him as he saw the dried blood that adorned the crossbeam. But his sadness was quickly swept away, because he knew the man who had hung here just days ago was now alive.
This monument to death, now stood transformed as a testimony of life.
Edgar took to the sky once again, his heart still surging. There were many places he wanted to go. He wanted to see the temple and find the place where Galya had been sacrificed. He wanted to see, with new eyes, the places where he and his friend had spent so much time together–the place where Galya had told him the beautiful Sheep Tales. And he wanted, also, to pay a visit to the nest that had been his home for so long.
Oh, if only he could tell his mother of the joy that filled him now! How he wished he could thank her for planting the seeds of hope so long ago.
After visiting the nest, he flew away basking in the incredible beauty around him. The nest would never again be his home. He would build a new one, and a new future to go with it. How wonderful that word sounded as it formed in his brain: future. It was a word charged with hope and possibility.
Edgar’s heart ached as he saw in the distance the pen where Galya told him the Sheep Tales. He was amazed at how clear and true those stories now seemed. As clear as his new vision. He arced over the trees just to the south of the pen. Only days before, those branches had been a mass of gray, too thick and obscure to even consider for landings. Today Edgar could have chosen the smallest branch within the thickest foliage and landed there with ease.
No sheep were in the pen. It was empty and the gate was open. A large, very white ram grazing at the edge of the forest was the only animal in sight. Edgar swooped down and lit on the same rail where he had last mocked Galya. He was deep in thought as he heard approaching steps. He looked up to see the ram standing several yards away with his head tipped to one side. Then the ram spoke: “Edgar?” he asked tentatively.
Edgar leapt straight into the air, then crashed to the ground. He waddled clumsily toward the ram. “Galya!” he screeched. “Little Lamb! Is that you?”
Galya laughed and nodded. “I saw the King!” Galya said. “My sacrifice is no longer needed.”
“So did I,” Edgar screeched as he flew high into the air again and then dove down, landing perfectly between the majestically curled horns on Galya’s head. He craned his neck forward, looking right into his friend’s eyes. He was so close that Galya had to cross his eyes to see him clearly. Edgar began to laugh. He laughed so hard it he lost his balance. He lay between Galya’s horns, convulsing in laughter as Galya carefully lifted his head to keep from dumping him on the ground.
Finally he caught his breath, regained his footing and peered once more into Galya’s slightly crossed eyes. “I saw the King come from the grave!” he whispered as he watched a light of hope and excitement flicker in Galya’s eyes.
Then, with joy bursting from every feather, Edgar shouted, “I can see, Galya! I can finally see!”
You can read the entire story in the book, Sheep Tales.
In the book, you’ll meet:
- Dandy Lion – Witness to Daniel in the lions den.
- Arvid – The first Duck billed Platypus.
- Herman – The sheep that stood too close to the burning bush.
- Glubber – God’s special fish made for God’s special man.
- Sable – A bunny who shared the manger with unique baby.
Their perspective is unique but their story is gospel truth.
Good News dear friends. He is Risen!
Great story, Ken, as are all the stories you tell. Keep up the wonderful work you do so well. Love you!
I read ‘Sheep Tales’ years ago, and am now inspired to read it again. My Dad gave me a great gift of imagination. Combined with my love of animals, your stories really came alive, and I was inspired by them. Thank you Ken!
Absolutely wonderful rendition of the crucifixion and resurrection! God has blessed you with such an amazing gift of imagination and story-telling! Thank you for sharing that with the world! Blessings!
Thank you for sharing this perspective. I have been blessed by your messages on CD for several years now and continue to be blessed by your blogs. God is good!
Wonderful story, Ken! Thanks for sharing.
Oh wow, that was wonderful , I cried and Thanked and Praised The Lord. So many spots brought back memories. I wonder what all creation was seeing and feeling at the time Our Lord was crucified and when he arose, cause according to Rom. 8 they are looking and waiting to be set free to. Keep up the good work Ken, love you in Christ, ann
Marvelous story. I truly enjoy everything you present. Thanks for being who you are.
I love this book. I read to 300 children at Calvary Christian School in Naperville, Illinois. I have read this book to the 5th graders for the past 4 or maybe more years. They Love the book and so does the teacher. When I read each story they immediately identify the Bible story. I have most of your books and so far all of your CDs. You are my favorite author and speaker. Thank you
I loved this book and have been waiting for the movie version. Did the movie ever get finished? Would love to show it to my grand babies. I thought the book was so wonderfully written. Reminded me of the brilliance of C.S.Lewis in his tales of Narnia.
I just saw your show last night 3-28-2016 texted my grandson, he is 17 I raised his younger brother and sister 12&7 for 10 years, best years of my life. I told him I would like to see how we could get you here Rio Rancho, New Mexico. His nane is Michael Richards. He plays in the youth band at his church.I certainly related to getting my 4 children to church every week, all inder five years of age,I would say the same things to them, my husband was very little, we often get to church to find he had mismatched shoes on 1 or 2 of the younger ones. Do you have a tape of the show from 3-28-2016 not sure when it was made or other ones I could buy.Thank you so much.I enjoyed it so much.Bless you hor realising we need to laugh, as well pray and forgive.Sharron Richards. 73 yrs young.
Do you know where I can find this book for purchase? I work with little ones and would love to read the stories to them. I also have three 13 year olds of my own that would enjoy reading it.