From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Raphael Chow
Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,
Morning by the countryside, snowy white sheep scattered and gathered on the lavish green grassland. On disperse, it is fascinating like speckles of white blossom in a beauty pageant; on assembly, it resembles the casually changing cloud up in the blue, or the leisurely babbling brook across. It pacifies the turbulent soul!
As a lucky and propitious sign since good old days, sheep symbolizes peace, kindness, goodness, benevolence and uprightness! In the book “The Rich Dew of the Spring and Autumn Classics” from the Han dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD), sheep is described as
“horns outfitted, not utilized;
brawl geared up, not employed;
the kind folks flock together!
being seized, not a sound;
being slaughtered, not a cry;
the upright folks flock together!”
The virtue of “fond of kindness” is shown as the sheep is not using its horn to attack; while the virtue of “protecting righteousness with death” is implied as the sheep remains silent towards grasp or slain.
On the other hand, we are often dumbstruck and astounded by the sheep. Sheep is not smart! It seems like that sheep knows nothing other than grazing (and bearing lambs)! What would it do when there is a creek? Knowing that it can neither leap over nor swim across, it might still dive into it! Besides, sheep always goes astray. Lost sheep can be seen in the wilderness, near the cliffs and ridges, or even in the swamps (usually dead). People wondered, “how could they get there?” Sheep tails heedlessly! When one sheep decides to take off, all the sheep goes after. If the question “why do you run?” is put forward, the answer will probably be “it’s because the one ahead runs.” If the one starting this off is asked, the answer you might get would possibly be “I don’t know!” Moreover, sheep is stubborn. It is a dying battle to drag a sheep into the shearing shed if it rejects the plan. There is a story of a run-away sheep refusing to be shaved. It hides in the land of tall grass for 6 years (a rare exceptional case) before being found, caught and sheared. Sheep cannot live on their own. Though most animals can live self-sufficiently, sheep is never capable of surviving without the care of a shepherd. In close encounter with beasts, it would only end up being their meals.
There are no big differences between sheep from Asia, Europe, Africa, America or the Middle East, which all carry similar traits. Sheep is just sheep.
Actually, sheep does not need to be smart with the care of a good shepherd, who will go in and out and find pasture for them (John 10:9). Led by a good shepherd, sheep will not get lost as He goes before them (John 10:4); and He will go in search of the one that went astray (Matt. 18:12-13). Guided by a good shepherd, sheep will not be afraid just to follow by imitation (Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9; Heb. 6:12). With the patience of a good shepherd, sheep will also be able to turn away from its obstinacy (1 Tim. 1:16; Matt. 26:34, 75; Luke 22:32; 1 Pet. 3:14-18). And with the protection of a good shepherd, sheep has no fear for the beasts as He is willing to lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11-14). I have to be thankful for I am the sheep of a good shepherd.
Thence, David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1)
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Raphael Chow