Service of the Word for Sunday, 25 April 2021

This Service was held on Zoom.  A video will follow later.

Led by Revd Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga

Preacher: Revd George Mwaura


Prayer of the Week

Safe in the knowledge that we are loved, we come to the Good Shepherd, seeking succour for our souls.
Let not the wolves of this day snatch our thoughts and scatter them for our minds belong to Jesus and our hearts are open to him.


Hymn: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It sooths his sorrows, heals his wounds,
and drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
and calms the troubled breast;
’tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary rest.

Dear name! the rock on which I build,
my shield and hiding place,
my never-failing treasury filled
with boundless stores of grace.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Brother Friend,
my Prophet, Priest and King,
my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
and cold my warmest thought;
but when I see thee as thou art,
I’ll praise thee as I ought.

Till then I would thy love proclaim
with every fleeting breath;
and may the music of thy name
refresh my soul in death.

John Newton (1725–1807)

Gathering Prayer

God of Promise and God of Hope,
who through your great mercy
have granted us new birth
through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
we praise your wonderful name!
God of Glory and God of Might
who through your great power
have granted us new strength
to endure all things through faith in Christ our risen King,
we praise your wonderful name!



From the moment we awake
to face the day ahead,
you are with us,
through good times and bad,
your presence enough for our needs.

Every day we will praise your name.

Through the hours of the day,
in our travels and work,
you are with us;
in decisions we must make,
Your wisdom enough for our needs.

Every day we will praise your name.

As we lay down to rest
at the end of the day,
you are with us,
as we lay our fears at your feet,
your peace enough for our needs.

Every day we will praise your name.



God of healing,
God of wholeness,
we bring our brokenness,
our sinfulness,
our fears
and despair,
and lay them at your feet.

God of healing,
God of wholeness,
we hold out hearts and hands,
minds and souls
to feel your touch,
and know the peace
that only you can bring.


God of healing,
God of wholeness,
this precious moment
in your presence and power
grant us faith and confidence
that here broken lives
are made whole.


Bible readings

Psalm 23

Read by Penny Keens

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
for ever.


This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

John 10: 11–18

Read by Pat Kyd

11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.’


This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our light.


By Revd George Mwaura

Psalm 23 and John 10: 11–18

Good shepherd, you know us better than anyone else. Open the ears of our hearts so that we may recognise your voice and follow you to receive salvation and eternal life.


I grew up among the Maasai people of Kenya, who are pastoralist and nomadic in lifestyle.
They lead lives that were not radically different from that of their first-century counterparts in Palestine.
It was fascinating to see them wandering endlessly in search of fields
where their sheep and cattle might graze.
Every night, the sheep were led into a protected sheepfold, known in Maasai language as ‘emuatata’.
Sometimes, there would be four or five flocks gathered into the same sheepfold for the night.
The shepherds would then take turns staying up throughout the night,
making sure that lions or other wild animals were not able to break in and kill the livestock.
If a stranger happened to be there in the morning,
they might have wondered if there was any hope of separating one flock from another.
But it was a remarkably simple matter:
each shepherd went to a different corner of the field and began to call the sheep.
As the sheep heard the shepherd’s distinct voice,
they immediately began to move towards the one that belonged to their shepherd.
After a few minutes, all the sheep were separated into their own flocks,
and the shepherds led them away to pasture.
Simples; kighk!
Sheep know the voice of their own shepherd, and they follow it.

What about us: do we really know our Shepherd?
Most of you are good Christian folks.
You attend church every Sunday, receive Holy Communion, and perform good works.
But I wonder: is this proof enough that you know the Shepherd?
You know, it is possible for us to be like Apollos in the Book of Acts, who was well versed in Scriptures.
We are, however, told that his knowledge of Christ was insufficient
and Priscilla and Aquilla had to introduce him to the Shepherd.
Likewise, for you and me, there is more to it than simply talking about the Shepherd.
We must know the Shepherd not just as our guide
but as the Shepherd of our souls and Lord of our lives.

In our passage Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd,
contrasting himself with those shepherds of Israel who are rebuked by God in the book of Ezekiel.
Jesus saw the Pharisees in Israel as the kind of shepherds Ezekiel condemned.
The paralytic man in John chapter 5, for example, had spent years unable to walk
and was forced to support himself by begging.
Yet when Jesus healed him on a Sabbath day, the Jews went ballistic.
It is clear they would have preferred that this man not be healed at all
than for him to be healed on the Sabbath.
Our Gospel reading is emphatic that Jesus is the True Shepherd; the Cornerstone of our faith
and the only name by which we must be saved.

The image of a Good Shepherd is a reassuring one
and we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus loves us and cares for us
because we too, like sheep, are daft, easily lead astray and prone to attack by the enemy.
A good shepherd will protect us from attack, whereas a hired hand will flee to protect himself.
We, like sheep, must know the shepherd and be able to recognise his voice.
There are many people in our world today who want to lead us
and the question we must ask ourselves is this: Who can we trust?

We cannot trust politicians, because they often make promises that they have no intention of keeping,
and most of them are liars and bullies.
You all know what happened in Iraq and the elusive weapons of mass destruction, don’t you?

Surely you have not forgotten the deliberate misrepresentation of facts over Brexit.
And I am sure you all witnessed with sadness the final chapter of Trump’s presidency.
In Russia, we have seen President Putin annex a region of Eastern Ukraine,
support a murderous dictator in Syria, and recently poison and imprison the leader of the opposition.
Then of course we have the Kagames, the Jai Boseneiros and, the Musevenis of our world.
Oh, I could go on, but I think I have made my point: we simply cannot trust politicians: period!

And neither can we place our hope in priests, church ministers and leaders,
because they too are subject to human weakness – unless, unless – they lead us in true faith.
Too often we have seen, especially within the prosperity gospel churches, our brothers and sisters
being cheated and conned of all their savings by low-life pastors whose aim is only to enrich themselves.
Too often we have read with sadness of the thousands of children who have been abused
and betrayed by the priests and ministers in the churches of Christ who were meant to shepherd them.
No, we cannot place our hope in human hands.

We must then turn to a higher and trustworthy shepherd:
somebody we can trust more than earthly ministers and politicians: and that shepherd is Jesus.
He is the only one we can trust to lead us.
He accepts us as members of his flock and gives us boundaries that will protect us.
He gives us spiritual nourishment, rest, and joy. He laid down his life to bring us closer to God
He protects us from Satan’s attempts to distract us while we are on our Christian walk of life.
He is good to us all the time and the eternal life he offers can never be taken away from us.

In contrast, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were nothing more than hired hands.
They were selfish, but Jesus was selfless.
They abandoned the flock, but Jesus laid down his life to save his flock.
They obeyed their own lust, but Jesus completely obeyed his Father’s will.
The religious leaders cared only about themselves and their chosen ones,
but Jesus cared for everyone, even those on the margins such as the Samaritans and the Gentiles.

The sacrifice of the Good Shepherd was completely unparalleled in the history of humanity
and it calls us as a church and individuals to respond.
Jesus commanded us in the Great Commission to go and make disciples,
teaching them to obey everything he has commanded,
and he promised that he will be with us to the very end of time.

Friends, we are called upon to be shepherds and to witness God’s love;
we are to be there for each other.
We are to care, support and defend one another even with our own lives if need be.
We are to go out and encourage others, especially non-believers, to join the flock,
by our faith and positive actions.
Not because we have hidden agendas or want something from them,
no, but because our discipleship is intentional.
We are to guide Christ’s sheep, especially if we are in positions of leadership within the church.
In other words, we are to be good shepherds ourselves.
And if we place our faith in Jesus, we will be able to overcome barriers
that would otherwise hinder us in this work.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us pray to the Good Shepherd to grant us wisdom and intelligence to hear, recognise, and follow his calling


Musical response: Brother James’s Air

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in the Creator
The maker of all things

We believe in the Son
The redeemer of our broken world

We believe in the Spirit
The sacred wind that binds all things together in the family of God

Creator Father, beloved Son and living Spirit.



Led by Maggie Kean

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


The Peace

Jesus says:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.



Thank you
to everyone who has continued giving through our regular schemes during these past months.
Your generosity has been amazing and much appreciated.
We couldn’t have carried on without you.

We have various ways in which you can continue to give your offering in support of the Church.

For details please contact the Stewardship Secretary, Janet Trimnell, at

Full details are also available on our website at:

Final Prayer

Almighty Father,
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened
and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Hymn: The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
he makes me lie in pastures green,
he leads me by the still, still waters,
his goodness restores my soul.
And I will trust in you alone,
and I will trust in you alone,
for your endless mercy follows me,
your goodness will lead me home.

He guides my ways in righteousness,
and he anoints my head with oil;
and my cup – it overflows with joy,
I feast on his pure delights.
And I will trust in you alone,
and I will trust in you alone,
for your endless mercy follows me,
your goodness will lead me home.

And though I walk the darkest path –
I will not fear the evil one,
for you are with me, and your rod and staff
are the comfort I need to know.
And I will trust in you alone,
and I will trust in you alone,
for your endless mercy follows me,
your goodness will lead me home.

Stuart Townend (b. 1963)

The Blessing

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face towards you
and give you peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit
Be upon you today and always.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

Thanks be to God.