After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation,
tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.
Opening Prayer (From the Syrian Orthodox Church)
O most glorious and exalted Lord,
You are glorified in the heights above
by ministers of fire and spirit in most holy fashion,
yet in Your love
You wished to be glorified by mankind on earth as well,
so that You might exalt our mortal race
and make us like supernal beings and brothers in your dominion.
Free us, Lord, in Your compassion
from whatever cares hinder the worship of You,
and teach us to seek Your Kingdom and its righteousness
in accordance with Your holy commandments that bring life;
and may we become worthy of that Kingdom
along with all the saints who have done Your will,
and may we sing Your praises.
In Jesus’ Name,
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
All you big things bless the Lord
Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria
The Rift Valley and the Serengeti Plain
Fat baobabs and shady mango trees
All eucalyptus and tamarind trees
Bless the Lord
Praise and extol him for ever and ever.
All you tiny things bless the Lord
Busy black ants and hopping rainbow bugs
Wriggling tadpoles and flying beetles
Grasshoppers and crickets
Pollen dust and water droplets
Millet seeds and okra pods
Bless the Lord
Praise and extol him for ever and ever.
A lesser known passage but one which sets out so clearly God’s shepherdly care.
For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.
I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.
I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.
I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.
There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.
I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Second Bible Reading: (John 10 vs1-16)
The classic passage in which Jesus portrays Himself as the Good Shepherd.
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming,
he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me —
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.
They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Solo Piece: ‘Belovedness’ (a very moving new song by Sarah Kroger)
Click the following link for the transcript of this address (opens in a new window)
Song: Everyone needs compassion
Closing Prayer: (From the Eastern Orthodox Church)
O Father, my hope
O Son, my refuge
O Spirit, my protection
Holy Trinity, glory to You.
Benediction: (Hebrews 13 vs20-21)
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant
brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,
equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.