Bishop Susan Goff, Suffragan Bishop of Virginia and assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Liverpool, preached at the ordination of priests at Liverpool Cathedral.
Here is part of her sermon:
Your nation faces some of the same threats of polarization and separation as you approach the referendum about remaining in the European Union or not. I understand that arguments are sharp and, even during this weekend of celebrations of the Queen’s ninetieth birthday when patriotic fervor is strong, divisive tensions linger nearby – perhaps fueled by patriotic fervor.
So we need people of the Church to speak as Barnabas did: people who offer encouragement and embody hope. And we need the Church to give the community something else that Barnabas gave. Barnabas means Son of Encouragement, but in Aramaic, the dialect of Hebrew that Jesus and his followers actually spoke, the name Barnabas could also be understood to mean Son of Prophecy.
We need sons and daughters of prophecy right now in our world. Prophets are not people who predict the future, as popular culture assumes. Prophets are people who speak God’s word no matter how challenging or unpopular or counter cultural that word may be. And God knows, the Word is counter cultural. It’s becoming more and more so as the place Church in society changes quickly and radically.