We would like to encourage everyone to enter photos for the Named In Love competition currently being run by Sarx Christian Animal Welfare. “Rethinking how society regards non-human life is of prime importance if the suffering of millions of animals is to be challenged. Therefore we hope to draw attention to the inadequacy of words such as ‘product’, ‘experiment’, ‘sport’ or ‘entertainment’ in labelling animals and instead promote names which example care, dignity and love” (Daryl Booth).
At the start of the Bible, the Book of Genesis tells us that God created all creatures and people. He blessed us all and gave us humans the responsibility of caring for the animals, giving all of us fruits and plants as our food. Then, when He looked at His Creation, He said that we were all very good (Genesis 1). God had created the animals to be our companions and helpers, and He told us to name them (Genesis 2 v 18-20). This is very significant, because a name is important; it gives us our individuality, our self-worth; it tells people who we are and that we have a unique value. A name is a blessing, and it is a blessing that God intends for His animals.
However we take the Genesis story, which describes God as bringing the different animals He has created to Adam for him to give them their name, the eternal truth that is conveyed by this account is that mankind has a responsibility for the animals and is appointed to be their guardian. In the first chapter of Genesis it is God who gives names to the various parts of His creation, but in the second chapter Adam is asked to name the animals and birds. This is meant to show mankind’s special responsibility for them.
The Old Testament is rich with God’s delight in His creatures. It was taken for granted in biblical times that a ‘righteous’ man would take good care of His animals. In those days they would live amongst the people, which is why they were so often a part of the parables of Jesus. Wild animals, of course, had plenty of countryside to live in. The majority of sheep were not reared for meat, but for their wool. The good shepherd loved his sheep and protected them from harm. He knew each one of them and for each sheep he would have an affectionate and descriptive name, an individual name.
In the Bible, calling by name always implies a very special relationship, so the deep understanding between shepherd and sheep is emphasized by Jesus, “He calls his own sheep by name” (John 10 v 3). Whilst all sheep may look alike to us, in biblical times, a good shepherd could not only distinguish between all of his sheep, but also had a name for each. This gives us an important analogy as, in these days when life is highly de-personalised, one of the marks of Christianity is that it upholds the importance of individual persons.
The large, exploitative scale trade in animals that we see today did not exist, and when Jesus described Himself as a, ‘Good Shepherd’, who loved and knew each of His sheep by name, He described God’s love for us, and also the love we should have for the animals God has given into our care. Jesus also foretold His coming self-sacrifice on the Cross, “I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10 v 14) and it’s interesting to note that the first person to see the risen Jesus was Mary Magdalene. But, because of the change in her Lord’s resurrection body, she didn’t recognise Him; until He called His own sheep by name –“Mary!”, and then she recognised Him with great joy!
So let’s show our support for all the animals God has given into our care, by entering this competition and please encourage your family and friends to join in too. Thank you!
How to Enter
“Simply take a photo of an animal you name in love! This could be a selfie with your pet, a bird in the garden, a squirrel who pinched your lunch, the dog who ate your work or perhaps something more serious and thought provoking. A wonderful opportunity to be creative and have fun! Check out this great entry from Dr Andy Alexis-Baker as an example:
Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to us @sarx
Do also share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts #NamedInLove Closing date 30th September 2016.
The winner will receive a hamper of goodies!
Check out the gallery of entries so far!” (Sarx Christian Animal Welfare)
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