‘“I know my sheep.” Christ our Lord knows not only the number of the whole flock but the character, condition, circumstances, needs, and necessities of each one. He knows us perfectly and individually. He is deeply interested in us, because He made us, and because He died for us. He knows our capabilities, what we can do for His glory, how He can develop our character, and our capacity for happiness with Him here and in heaven. He knows, too, our limitations, and never expects more of us than, with His grace, we can accomplish. He knows our evil tendencies, and strives by His discipline to correct and eradicate them.
He knows our trials and our sorrows, and is ever close at hand to help us if we will come to Him. He knows our temptations, and will never suffer us to be tempted above that we are able; but ever makes for us the way of escape. If He knows our failures and our falls, He knows also every step, every effort, however feeble it may be, which we make in trying to do better.
In Gethsemane, and on the Cross, He thought and prayed for each one of us, and offered the Sacrifice of Himself to save us. The Good Shepherd gave His life for His sheep – for each one, as if each had been the only one who needed to be saved. In His high-priestly work before the throne on high He makes continual intercession for us. As Aaron bore on his breastplate the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, so our great High Priest bears our names upon His heart, and intercedes for us.
It is of this intimate and personal knowledge of every one of us that He spake when He said in an earlier part of this discourse that the Good Shepherd “calleth His own sheep by name.” He not only knows us, but He calls each one of us by name; each by that new name which He gave us at our baptism, and which is a type of that other name which He will one day give, the new name “which no man knoweth, but he that receiveth it”. Thus it is that the Good Shepherd knows His sheep’.
Fr WH Longridge SSJE, 1848-1930
Almighty and everlasting God, we are taught by thy holy Word, that the hearts of kings are in thy rule and governance, and that thou dost dispose and turn them as it seemeth best to thy godly wisdom: we humbly beseech thee so to dispose and govern the heart of Elizabeth thy Servant, our Queen and Governor, that, in all her thoughts, words, and works, she may ever seek thy honour and glory, and study to preserve thy people committed to her charge, in wealth, peace, and godliness: grant this, O merciful Father, for thy dear Son’s sake, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - The Book of Common Prayer, 1662
A sad day today as word came of the death, at the age of 99, of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was, for 69 years, the faithful strength and stay of our Queen as consort; a man whose life embodied service, loyalty, duty, and whose interests and passions - academic, spiritual, educational, environmental - were serious and often beyond their time. His loss will be sorely felt in Britain, the Commonwealth, and beyond, and we do well to pray for the repose of his soul, and for the comfort of his widow, our Sovereign Lady. A Solemn Requiem will follow at St John Henry’s in due course.
Fr Lee Kenyon