In his final sermon as Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop James says "We are about to enter period when people will realise how much we have taken for granted those good foundations of the Christian faith.”
The Bishop of Liverpool, The Right Reverend James Jones, has called for people to follow the example of Jesus and to do good. Expressing a hunch that, “We are about to enter an era when people will realise how much we have taken for granted those good foundations of the Christian faith,” The Bishop expressed a concern that losing touch with those foundations has “removed one of the checks on our behaviour both individually and corporately”.
Bishop James said ‘“Doing good” is much maligned today: “‘Do gooder’ is only slightly short of being a swear word. Yet there is no higher calling; no vocation more Christ-like than devoting your life to ’doing good’.” He added “It is a feature of our world that doing good does not always bring reward in this life. But that is the way of Jesus. It is the way of the cross. Of course you don’t have to be a Christian to do good. But a society shaped by a Christian ethos will manifestly exhibit the Christian ethic of doing good.“
Pointing to the lack of trust in many institutions and raising the notion of the Big Society, Bishop James said “We can appeal to a spirit of altruism. But something more is needed in order to challenge and motivate people to go that extra mile. “Doing good” in helping people practically and changing the structures of our society calls for a new dynamic to motivate the human spirit.”
Talking about his leaving Bishop James commented “the word in my heart is simply to say Thank You. Thank you to God for calling me to Liverpool. Thank you to you for your ministry to me. Thank you to my close colleagues with whom in 15 years of working there has never been an angry word. Thank you to my family and especially Sarah without whom I would not and could not have been Bishop of Liverpool.”
He spoke of his privilege “to be known as ‘of Liverpool’. The city with humour, honesty and its heart worn on its sleeve,” before finally stating “As I come to say farewell I appeal to you in the name of Jesus to follow his example and do good. You will be transformed. Those around you will be transformed. Let people mock you but do good. Let the devil tempt you but do good. There is no higher calling. There is no life more Christ-like. By God’s grace seek to be like Jesus and with God’s light see Jesus in those he calls you to serve. So the world will be changed again. Relationships transformed. The Earth restored.”