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Film Portrays Good Shepherd Protecting His Flock

In the film Greyhound, actor Tom Hanks plays the captain of a US destroyer that is commanding the escorts of a 37-ship convoy. They are crossing the Atlantic in 1942, at the height of the “Battle of the Atlantic.” The story focuses on the three-days that the convoy is in the “Mid-Atlantic Gap,” where they do not enjoy the benefits of air-cover. The convoy is subjected to relentless attack by a U-boat “wolf pack.” The U-boats sink seven ships from the convoy and one of the accompanying escorts. The escorts in turn sink a number of the U-boats. The majority of the convoy makes it through, delivering essential troops and supplies.

The intensity of the combat is unrelenting. Hanks is on the bridge of his ship throughout. A running motif of the film is that he never gets to eat. His stewards keep preparing him food, and bringing it to him, but when it arrives there is yet another attack and the food almost invariably crashes to the deck. In a poignant scene towards the end, he changes his boots for slippers because his feet are bloodied by standing for such a long period.

The film is based on the book The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester, and the title indicates the spiritual symbolism of the story. Hanks’ character is clearly a committed Christian, who is shown praying at his bedside, and he has a prominent sticker of Hebrews 13:8 in his cabin.

Possible Preaching Angle:

C. S. Forester must have realized convoy escort duty is a good parallel for the work of Christian ministry. Pastors and leaders are called to protect their flock from the attacks of the enemy and ensure that they reach their destination safely.


John Stevens blog, “Tom Hanks Film Greyhound Reminds Us That Church Leadership Is A Relentless Battle To Protect God’s People From False Teachers” John-Stevens.com (8-6-20); C. S. Forester, The Good Shepherd (Penguin Books, Reissue Ed, 2018)

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