The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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SL Anglican Cathedral featured in PBS program

This weekend, the (US) Public Broadcasting System’s renowned Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly program will broadcast an episode on “Living in Second Life.”  This episode includes segments that were filmed at the SL Anglican cathedral, including an interview of Rev. Mark, Helene Milena and myself.

A video preview of this episode may currently be viewed at the program website http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/.  It is my understanding that the full episode will be available to be viewed on their website later today.

ETA:  The full episode is available here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/september-18-2009/second-life/4243/.


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The lowest and the least

Jesus had a habit of doing things his own way, much to the consternation of those around him who preferred to be more conventional in their behaviour. Even being a guest in the house of a prominent pharisee didn’t cramp Jesus’ style. His values and behaviour were consistent wherever he was, all growing out of the love of God for each individual. When a sinful woman (for sinful read promiscuous) came and ministered to Jesus in the middle of a dinner to which he was invited, his host was shocked that Jesus could not detect what kind of woman this was. Jesus knew full well what kind of woman she was but he used her love and devotion as an object lesson for Simon. Whether he took it to heart or not we will never know, but we can learn from it still.

The readings at the 2pm SLT service were 1 Timothy 4:12-end, Psalm 111, Luke 7:36-end. The reflection follows:

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Familiarity breeds contempt

How is it possible to read of the many marvellous deeds of Jesus as told in the Gospels and not be amazed? I found myself in that position as I read about Jesus raising to life the son of the widow of Nain. If I can get to this point, how do ‘professional’ Christians avoid it? As we were remembering Cyprian, bishop and martyr, I looked to his writing to help me.

The readings were Psalm 101, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Luke 7:11-17. The reflection given at the 2pm SLT service follows:

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Recession proof living

A year on from some of the most high profile effects of the worldwide recession, we can look back at so many facts and figures which show what happened and what is continuing to happen as governments work to find a way out of recession as quickly as possible. Some of the figures make sobering reading due to the human cost they point to.

In the midst of great challenges, it’s all too easy to despair. Jesus pointed out that we think in a human way, not as God does. If we saw circumstances but also remembered that God is there for us, we would cope better with what life throws at us.

The readings at the noon SLT service were Psalm 116:1-8, Proverbs 1:20-33, Mark 8:27-end. The reflection follows:

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Who do you say that I am?

The theme of my Message today is: Who do you say that I am?
In Mark’s gospel Jesus begins to reveal his true identity to the disciples.
We can see how Jesus uses his time to teach the disciples as travels with them from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi.
Time is spent reflecting on the previous events and the disciples’ experiences.
Rather than starting with a direct question Jesus begins by asking what the disciples have heard being said of him by the crowds.
Clearly the answer is very significant to the ministry of Jesus: John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets?
The expectations of the people are reflected in these statements.
They are seeing in Jesus the work and hand of God being revealed.
Jesus then asks the disciples to reflect on their own understanding in light of the statements of the crowds and of their own experiences. The direct question comes: Who do you say that I am?
Peter answers for them all: “You are the messiah!”
And Jesus begins to teach them, showing them a deeper understanding again.

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The uniform of love

Uniforms are worn for many reasons but often it is to identify someone as belonging to a particular organisation. The uniform can then set expectations for other people who will anticipate certain kinds of behaviour from the person in the uniform. As Christians, we are to wear the uniform of love and our behaviour should match the standards of the organisation to which we belong. That organisation is God’s family and the ethos of the family is set by its head who IS Love.

The readings at the 2pm SLT service on Thursday were Psalm 149:1-7, Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 6:27-38. The reflection follows:

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Even the Dogs Deserve Bread!

Today’s Gospel story can be a little perplexing, particularly with the interaction between Jesus and the SyroPhoenician woman. Jesus appears to speak in an uncharacteristically harsh manner to this stranger in the middle of Jewish Israel.

We have seen in the past where Jairus approached Jesus in the crowd, how Jesus spoke to encourage him, and strengthen his faith as they made that journey from death to life. In this setting, in a home away from the crowds, Jesus takes no such steps. He initially refuses her request and instead challenges her right to even ask from him.

Jesus is tired, and needs refreshment himself. We have already encountered this. The Gospels have all recorded how he withdraws frequently to the mountains, away from people, to seek his Father. This encounter is very different. It is a glimpse into the human side of Jesus that we do not often see.

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