You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

For centuries the early church wrestled with the question of Jesus’ identity, trying to grasp the mystery Scripture reveals – namely, that Christ is truly human and truly God, one person with two natures. Surrounding this paradox are other seemingly contradictory images of Jesus’ person and work – images that Sylvia Dunstan explores in this thoughtful text.


Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The confessions make it clear that the ascension of Christ opened the door to the rule of his kingdom. This fact is comforting to those who love him and is a fearful threat to those who despise him. The response therefore is praise and adoration from people of faith, and resistance from those who reject him.


Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 27 affirms “All authority, glory and sovereign power are given to him,” and reaffirms it in paragraph 43: “Jesus Christ rules over all.”


Consider the clear affirmation made in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 50: “Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is the head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things.”

It is no wonder that those who despise him join together to conspire against him, for Christ’s aim as Lord is to “destroy the devil’s work…every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy word” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123).


You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd

Call to Worship

Almighty God,
as we prepare to worship today,
we ask that you will stretch our imaginations
to sense the majesty and mystery of your ascension.
Help us perceive how Jesus’ presence in heaven
can give us confidence in our praying
and hope for the future.
Through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Ascended and reigning Christ,
help all of us who struggle to worship you as Lord
perceive the beauty and glory of your sovereign rule.
Help all of us who struggle to worship you as heavenly priest
discover the beauty and power of your ongoing prayer for us and with us. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!
Then every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth
and on the sea, and all that is in them, sang,
“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power
for ever and ever!” Amen.
—from Revelation 5:12-13, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

People of God,
the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, sends his greeting to you.
And his greeting is this:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
through the working of the Holy Spirit.
This is the greeting of Christ, who arose from the grave.
He died and rose that we might have eternal life.
All thanks be to him!
This same Christ has ascended to the Father.
He ascended that we might experience God’s presence and power.
All praise be to him!
[Reformed Worship 23:40]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Christ, while his disciples watched,
was taken up from the earth into heaven.
He remains there on our behalf until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.
Christ is true human and true God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;
but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
he is never absent from us.
Christ is our advocate in heaven in the presence of his Father.
We have our own flesh in heaven
as a sure pledge that Christ our head
will also take us, his members, up to himself.
Christ sends his Spirit to us on earth as a corresponding pledge.
By the Spirit’s power we seek not earthly things
but the things above, where Christ is,
sitting at God’s right hand.
Christ is seated at the right hand of God
to show there that he is head of his church,
the one through whom the Father rules all things.
Through his Holy Spirit he pours out gifts
from heaven upon us his members,
and by his power he defends us and keeps us safe
from all enemies.
In all distress and persecution,
with uplifted head,
we confidently await the very judge
who has already offered himself to the judgment of God
in our place and removed the whole curse from us.
Christ will cast all his enemies and ours
into everlasting condemnation,
but will take all his chosen ones to himself
into the joy and glory of heaven.
—from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A’s 46-47, 49-52
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


To him who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you before his glorious presence
without fault and with great joy—
to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
—Jude 24-25, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Lord God, heavenly King,
we offer these our gifts
as a sign of love, devotion, and praise.
Through these, as through our praises,
we acknowledge that you are our Lord.
In your name we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
Sovereign King,
we praise you for your just and righteous reign over the cosmos:
for the order you give to creation . . .
for your sovereign rule over the nations . . .
for your faithfulness to your church . . .
for your lordship in our lives . . .
You are at once King and servant, willing to give your life
and caring even for what we might count as insignificant.
So we approach your throne knowing you will listen to our prayers
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those who are in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray in your name, O Christ, our sovereign servant King. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd

Tune Information

d minor


Musical Suggestion

The tune is ideally suited for this text not least because of the mood it inspires. The gentle, stepwise ascent of the first two lines evokes awe and wonder, while the leaps and broken triad of the last suggest a royal herald. And did you notice what happens to the “everlasting instant?” 

You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd

Hymn Story/Background

“Drafted on a commuter bus after a particularly bad day at the jail, this hymn owes much to my longstanding relationship with Søren Kierkegaard. (Either this philosophical fragment is a repetition of fear and trembling, or it is an edifying discourse on purity of heart.) This was chosen as a theme hymn for the 1984 General Council’s work on the Saving Significance of Jesus Christ.”
~from In Search of Hope & Grace: 40 Hymns and Gospel Songs by Sylvia G. Dunstan, GIA Publications, Inc., pg. 44, Used by Permission.
This thoughtful Christological text by one of Canada’s most prominent hymn authors thrives on paradox, a device little used in hymnody because the singing tempos of most congregational songs leave little time to ponder the nuances of each paradox relationship. Note the fitting musical paradox of the melisma (several tones on one syllable) on the word “instant.”
— Bert Polman

Author Information

After a brief, arduous battle with liver cancer, Canadian Sylvia Dunstan died in 1993 at the age of 38. For thirteen years, Dunstan had served the United Church of Canada as a parish minister and prison chaplain. She is remembered by those who knew her for her passion for those in need, her gift of writing, and her love of liturgy.

Composer Information

PICARDY is a French "noel," a carol tune thought to date back to the seventeenth century. The tune was first published in Chansons Populaires des Provences de France (vol. IV, Paris, 1860); the melody was written down as sung by a Madame Pierre Dupont in Champfleury-Wekerlin to “Jesus Christ s'habille en pauvre,” a folk song she remembered from her childhood in Picardy, an old province in northern France. PICARDY was first published with "Let All Mortal Flesh" in The English Hymnal (1906).
— Bert Polman
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