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The Good Shepherd

Family Service talk for all ages preached by
The Reverend Charles Royden
6 May 2001

God knows us

This week had a special day in it: 29 April. It was of course the day of the Census across Britain which records who we all are and where we all live, what our religion is and what we do with our lives. It is very important that we all complete the details and tell 'them' who we are. How refreshing therefore to contrast that with the message of scripture that God does not need a census to find out where we live, who we are or what we do. Even the hairs on our heads are numbered, God knows us and call us by name. As Jesus said in the reading today, the sheep know my voice. This morning we are reminded of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who knows us as a good shepherd knows all of his sheep. There are not too many of us, God knows us by name.

God loves us

Imagine if you were the Trott family this week. They have been told by Camelot that they had indeed been the family which won 3 million on the lottery, but that they would not get their money because they had lost their winning lottery ticket. The government minister Chris Smith, the Culture Secretary was on television last night saying that they ought to get their money!

What would you have done if you had lost that ticket. I can tell you that I would have systematically removed all the contents of the Vicarage into the road piece by piece to try and find it. Of course that is exactly the kind of behaviour which Jesus spoke about when he told parables of the importance of forgetting everything and seeking that which is lost. The point being made that we are of great worth to him and he will not let us simply go missing. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will lay down his own life for us, that is the measure of his love.

God calls us to know and love him

In the census there were questions of faith. I would imagine that many people would have completed that census and stated that they were of Christian faith.

What is it that qualifies us to be called Christian?

For some of those people it would be the fact that they have come from 'Christian' families. For others it would be simply that this is where they were born and this is a supposedly Christian country.

This morning we are reminded that the thing which marks us out as Christians, at least according to Jesus, is that they are those who listen to his voice. God knows us, God loves us, now the rest is up to us. This morning we are asked whether we are prepared to listen to the voice of Jesus, to cut aside time to hear his voice and be obedient to him. This is what mark's us out as sheep of the Good Shepherd.