A Voice Raised in Answer
A sermon given in October 2008 in Chichester Cathedral, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Bishop George Bell
The picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd which we have just heard about from the Gospel (John 10.11—16) is not a little bit of picturesque, pastoral scene-painting. It’s very clear from this gospel reading that the Good Shepherd is quite simply the one who is there to answer for the lives of the sheep. And that answering for the lives of the sheep puts his own security at risk. What is more, the Good Shepherd doesn’t simply answer for the lives of the sheep we might expect him to answer for: he has ‘other sheep’ (Jn 10.16) that do not belong to his fold. The Good Shepherd does not fence around his sense of responsibility. The Good Shepherd accepts, it seems, that he is there to answer for the lives of many – seen and unseen, familiar and unfamiliar – with equal cost and equal love.