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The Good Shepherd

From St John's Church, Orangefield, Belfast. Led by Canon Norman Jardine, with preacher the Rev Ross Wilson.

A service reflecting on the Biblical image of the Shepherd and the sheep used to describe the relationship between God and his people. What is proably the best loved psalm of all, the 23rd, begins with the idea of God the Sheoherd, in Jesus' parabvle of the lost sheep, the shepherd goes searching for it and he describes himself as the Good Shepherd.

I am the door (Edward Craig)
All people that on earth do dwell (Old 100th)
The King of Love my shepherd is (Dominus Regit Me)
1 Peter 2.19-25
Ut Vitam Habeant (Ruth Elaine Scham)
John 10.1-10
Every time I feel the Spirit (Trad. arr. Burton)
My Saviour the Good Shepherd is (Belmont)

From St John's Church, Orangefield, Belfast. Led by Canon Norman Jardine. Preacher: Rev Ross Wilson. With the Grosvenor Chorale, directed by Edward Craig. Organist Stephen Hamill. Producer: Bert Tosh.

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 7 May 2017 08:10

Sunday Worship

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.

It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world,


Opening Announcement:  BBC Radio 4 It’s ten past eight. Sunday Worship this morning comes from Belfast and is led by Canon Norman Jardine. The preacher is the Rev Ross Wilson who introduces the service whose theme is set by the opening anthem “I am the door”


CHOIR      I AM THE DOOR (Craig)     




Good morning from St John’s Church Orangefield in the suburbs of East Belfast. The Grosvenor Chorale has just sung I am the door, words from today’s Gospel where Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd and it’s around that we’ll be focussing our thoughts today. The image of God as a Shepherd to his people is one we find throughout the Bible and our opening praise pictures God feeding his flock: All people that on earth do dwell.





Beloved in Christ, we come together to offer to Almighty God our worship and praise and thanksgiving, to confess our sins and to receive God’s forgiveness, to hear his holy word proclaimed, to bring before him our needs and the needs of the world, and to pray that in the power of his Spirit we may serve him and know the greatness of his love.

The Son of Man came to seek and save his lost sheep. There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine people who think they have no need of forgiveness. Let us then approach the Shepherd of our souls and confess our sins,

 Almighty and most merciful Father;
We have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep.
We  have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
 We have offended against your holy laws.
We have left undone what we ought to have done; a
and we have done what we ought not to have done;
Yet Good Lord, have mercy on us; restore those who are penitent;
according to your promises declared in Jesus Christ our Lord
Grant, most merciful Father, for his sake;
That we may hereafter live  godly, righteous, and sober lives
To the glory of your holy Name. Amen

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy on you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 O Lord, open our lips

and our mouth will proclaim your praise.

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

Praise the Lord.

 The Lord’s name be praised.


Psalm 23 is probably the best loved of all the psalms, on which many hymns, like The King of love my shepherd is have been based.




 A reading from .the 2nd chapter of the 1st Letter of St Peter beginning at verse  19.

19For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
22 ‘He committed no sin,
   and no deceit was found in his mouth.’
23When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,* so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds* you have been healed. 25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls T

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


CANON NORMAN JARDINE  In the Gospel, Jesus says that he has that they might have life- in Latin: Ut Vitam Habeant




 A reading from the 10th chapter .of the Gospel according to St John  beginning at verse 1

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.



“The whole world is in a terrible state o' chassis" –the words of Captain Jack Boyle in Sean O’Casey’s play Juno and the Paycock. And even though he got the last word wrong, I know what he meant and sometimes I think his description fits well today’s world.  The long agony that’s Syria goes on without much sign of easing. Countries that have regularly been in the headlines over the past ten years still face acts of brutality and violence. Millions of people face massive uncertainty, to say the least.


But uncertainty is far from being confined to places where violence is now the new norm. The United Kingdom faces many uncertainties- not least as we prepare to enter negotiations about leaving the European Union. And this country and others- look at France and the United States- have witnessed a deep sense of unhappiness on the part of many with what might be called “the traditional way of doing politics” as people perceive themselves to be disregarded and ignored. Lots must feel like “sheep without a shepherd” and many must long for a different type of  leadership.


I suppose that throughout history there have been many different styles of leadership - as there still are today. Some have led by dictat and fear; others by example. Some by sheer force of personality; others by using the gift of inspiration. In Jesus’ day, it was the same with various types of leader: those who were ready to lead a revolution against the Roman rulers; others who were prepared to serve the occupying forces as long as they kept their wealth and limited influence; and then there were the religious leaders of the people. And in chapter 9 of John’s gospel, Jesus has just had a run-in with some of these religious leaders – a group of Pharisees. Throughout the ancient Near East, rulers and leaders were often spoken of as ‘shepherds’ of their people. Sadly, these particular shepherds didn’t seem particularly interested at all in the welfare of their ‘sheep’ - they had just castigated a man born blind because Jesus had healed him on a Sabbath! Often it seems - rather than caring for and protecting their sheep - the Pharisees were only interested in ensuring that they kept religious rules. Elsewhere Jesus accused them of tying up heavy, cumbersome loads and putting them on other people's shoulders.

But in contrast, Jesus in chapter 10 of John’s gospel describes himself as the promised Good Shepherd, who cares deeply about his flock.. He uses a picture of God’s relationship with his people that is found throughout the Bible. In Isaiah 40 the prophet writes that God tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. The sort of leadership Jesus offers is markedly different to that of the religious leaders of his day


Jesus talks about a sheepfold where these pseudo-Shepherds try to clamber in and get hold of the sheep. He calls them thieves and bandits because they’re all about personal gain at the expense of the sheep. For them sheep are merely a commodity. In contrast, Jesus - the Good Shepherd - opens the gate for the sheep and leads them in and out of the sheepfold when it’s safe to do so. He alone rescues them from trouble and gives them safety; but more than this - He alone gives abundant life. There’s a beautiful sense of freedom in what Jesus describes. The sheep He says can come in and go out, and find pasture. Jesus’ desire is for us to have a full life, which includes protection from life’s wolves and thieves, as well as pasture and fresh water to enjoy. Some see the Christian life as a bit dull - constrained and diminished by the restrictions of Jesus’ commands - but actually I, and many, many others have discovered the reverse is true. It is only when we submit our lives to the care of the Good Shepherd that we can truly flourish. It is only when we follow Jesus that we can live life to the full as God intends. As David put it in Psalm 23: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.


In Jesus’ day, several flocks might share the same sheepfold in a remote field and the way they get sorted out in the morning is by each shepherd calling his sheep out of the pen for another day of grazing. Now I wouldn’t be able to tell one sheep from another but Jesus says: the sheep hear my voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out,…and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. Jesus is referring to the intimate relationship between the shepherd and his own sheep. It is a deep and personal relationship. He is not remote from those who follow him. He knows every single sheep.


We hear many voices - in fact an increasing number of voices - but the one we need to listen out for and to distinguish from all the others, is the voice of Jesus. I’ve found that He alone has the words of eternal life, that he is both a strong Saviour and a loving Lord. And when we hear his voice and, in love and trust, follow him, he leads us into a quality of life, which ultimately each of us is longing for.


The Good Shepherd – Jesus tells us - deliberately lays down His life in order to save the sheep. I doubt if many leaders would lay down their lives for us. And yet, we know that this is exactly what Jesus did. We have just celebrated Easter and were moved once again by the incredible events of Good Friday when God in Jesus gave up his life for us. The cross is our symbol because on that cross, Jesus proved once and for ever, that he really is the Good Shepherd. In every walk of life –– it may be hard sometimes to see the motivation of those who are asking us to follow them. Today, be sure of God’s motivation of love – he is the Good Shepherd who gave up his life for you and for me. Let’s listen for His voice, follow him and find in him - and in him alone - the abundant life that he longs to give each one of us. Amen.





I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.


Let us pray.


Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Our Father, who art in heaven...


Show us your mercy, O Lord,

And grant us your salvation.


O Lord, save the Queen.

And grant her government wisdom.


Let your ministers be clothed with righteousness

And let your servants shout for joy.


O Lord, save your people

And bless those whom you have chosen.


Give peace in our time, O Lord,

And let your glory be over all the earth.


O God, make clean our hearts within us

And renew us by your Holy Spirit.


Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
Raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.Amen

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord,
to know you is eternal life, and to serve you is perfect freedom:
Defend us in all assaults of our enemies,
that we, surely trusting in your protection,
may not fear the power of any adversaries;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everliving God,
we give you thanks for bringing us safely to this day:
Keep us from falling into sin or running into danger,
and in all things guide us to know and do your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


CHOIR: EVERY TIME I FEEL THE SPIRIT (American Spiritual arr Burton)


Lord God we pray for you Church, for all who serve you in it, for its leaders and those who pastor your people. That they will always seek to follow the example of the Good Shepherd, being always aware of your guidance and prepared to show the love you show to us..

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for your world, thinking of those who are voiceless and oppressed, abused and exploited, those who have been imprisoned or tortured for their beliefs that they may know comfort and security. And we pray for the leaders of nations that they may realise their responsibilities to all the people they govern and your purpose of peace.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for all who work in the caring professions, for doctors,  nurses, social worker sand the multitude of others who are concerned with the health and well being of many people..May they always display those qualities found in the Good Shepherd and show his compassion n all they do.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord we pray struggling with issues of physical, mental or spiritual health
Those who feel rejected or burdened by guilt
For the lonely and any who have got to the point where they feel life is no longer worth living
For those who feel like sheep without a shepherd

You are the great healer, and we pray for healing of mind and body and spirit  for those we now name in the silence of our hearts.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer


CANON NORMAN JARDINE Merciful Father, you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again.
Keep us always under his protection,
and give us grace to follow in his steps;

through Jesus Christ our whose name we offer these and all our prayers. AMEN


Thank you for being with  us today in St John’s Orangefield in Belfast. May the Good Shepherd guide, direct and protect you in the days to come.

And may the God of peace,

by the blood of the eternal covenant

you brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep;

make us perfect in every good work,

and work in us that which is pleasing and good; +

And the Blessing of God....AMEN