The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Overshadowed by the Cross_JPEG


Leave a comment

The Lord has made known his salvation

This year Christmas Day has fallen on a Sunday, so we gathered for our normal noon SLT service. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 98Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-4John 1:1-14.

Merry Christmas! How many times have you seen that written or heard it said in the past few weeks? It almost replaces ‘Hello’ as the greeting of choice at this time of the year. However, for many people this is not a merry time. They may be unwell, grieving the loss of a loved one, suffering unemployment and financial problems or faced with an important relationship which is going wrong. It seems that the first Christmas, the time when God became incarnate as a baby in order to bring salvation to the world, has really changed very little. Life is still hard and full of challenges.

The story of salvation is a long one running throughout the Bible. Even as God condemned Adam and Eve to a difficult life away from the Garden of Eden, he was planning to make things right again. He called Abram and Sarai to leave their home and relatives and journey into an uncertain future, uncertain that is apart from God’s promise that this was the beginning of a great nation. That couple was too old to have children and yet God brought about the birth of Isaac and the nation he promised grew from there. Continue reading

e0547


Leave a comment

John the Baptist

On 11 December we celebrated the Third Sunday in Advent. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 146:4-10Isaiah 35:1-10, Matthew 11:2-11.

You may be familiar with the story of Scheherazade. In the book of One Thousand and One Nights, the Persian king Shahrya found his first wife was unfaithful to him. In his anger and distress he married a virgin every day and had her beheaded the next day before he married the next virgin. This went on until he had killed 1000 women.

Scheherazade was the daughter of the vizier. She was very well read, having studied all that she could find about the previous kings and about famous people from the past. She was reputed to have collected 1000 books of history about kings and peoples. She had also learnt poetry off by heart and was well versed in philosophy, the arts and the sciences. She was a pleasant person with a good sense of humour.

Although her father naturally disapproved, Scheherazade volunteered to spend a night with the king, despite his bloodthirsty reputation. When she was taken to the king’s chambers she requested a chance to say farewell to her sister, Dinazade. Dinazade had been told by Scheherazade to ask for a story to be told to her. The king listened as Scheherazade told her story to Dinazade. As dawn was approaching she stopped speaking but the story was not finished. The king spared her life that day as he wanted to hear how the story continued. The next night she finished off the story and began another which she didn’t complete, thus living through the next day. In this way, Scheherazade lived for 1,001 nights, telling 1000 stories. When she no longer had another story to tell, the king had already fallen in love with her and her life was no longer in danger; she became queen. Continue reading

24258359


Leave a comment

Prepare the way of the Lord

On 4 December we celebrated the Second Sunday of Advent. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-19Isaiah 11:1-10Matthew 3:1-12.

Today is the second Sunday of Advent. Last week the focus of the week was on the Patriarchs, those early heroes of the faith who had first listened to God and followed his lead. This week the focus shifts to the prophets. Many of the Patriarchs were also prophets.

The word “prophet” is formed from a Greek word which means “to tell before”. It has two parts: “pro” is the before bit; “phemi” is “to tell”. It’s the word behind the English word “fame”. The Hebrew word for prophet, “navi”, comes from a phrase meaning “fruit of the lips” and means an inspired speaker. The inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit who puts God’s words into the mouth of the prophets. God wants his people to listen to him. Through his Spirit he can speak to people directly but he uses prophets to speak his words also.

The job of a prophet is to speak for God and in so doing he or she will warn his or her listeners, challenge them, remind them of God’s law and encourage them to respond to the message that they hear. Those chosen by God as prophets are people close to God, holy and righteous. It is this closeness that gives the prophecy the ring of authenticity which allows it to be recognised as coming from God. Continue reading

advtwrth


Leave a comment

Advent Sunday

On 27 November we celebrated the First Sunday of Advent. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 122Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:11-14Matthew 24:36-44.

I suppose I could say ‘Happy New Year!’ today. Advent Sunday is the beginning of the Church’s year.

Advent has gathered various traditions, some of which we are celebrating within our service today. From Mexico we have Posada. Young people dressed as Mary and Joseph and went from house to house telling of the coming of Jesus. On Christmas Eve they performed a nativity play and placed figures of Mary and Joseph in a stable scene. Although this probably began as a novena, a nine day cycle of prayer, it now takes place throughout Advent. Today our Posada will begin as Mary and Joseph set off to travel around SL before returning here on Christmas Eve.

The Moravian custom of Christingle is now celebrated in many churches, forming the basis of a children’s carol service and the retelling of the Christmas story. Often churches are full for such events. As they involve each child having a lighted candle this can be quite an exciting, and somewhat dangerous, service! Continue reading

E0472


Leave a comment

Christ the King

On 20 November we celebrated the feast of Christ the King. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 46Jeremiah 23:1-6, Colossians 1:11-20Luke 23:33-43.

Today is the last Sunday of the Christian Year when we celebrate Christ the King. Though kings are rare in modern societies, I think we are all familiar with what a king is like. When the people of Israel decided they no longer wanted God to lead them but to have a human king, God warned them what a king would be like. He would recruit their men into the army. Others would work on his land and make weapons for his campaigns. Their women would work in the kitchens. The king would help himself to the best vineyards, fields and olive groves. Of what the people had left, he would charge them taxes on their crops and livestock. The king would help himself to anything that they had and they would be servants to him. Until modern times, and certainly in the time of Jesus, that was the expectation of a king. Rich, powerful, oppressive, demanding, one who was to be served, who had the power to put his subjects to death if he so wished. Continue reading

E0543


Leave a comment

Remembrance Sunday

On 13 November we marked Remembrance Sunday. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 98Malachi 4:1-2a, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13Luke 21:5-19.

One facet of our common life here on Epiphany Island that never ceases to inspire many of us is the international nature of our community. It allows people from all over the world to meet together to pray and worship God. When we share special celebrations here, we try to find occasions which we have broadly in common while not being afraid to learn from one another’s traditions.

Armistice Day, 11th November, marks the signing of a treaty between Britain and its allies with Germany which brought hostilities in the First World War on the Western Front to a halt. This took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. As a result around the world various ceremonies have been held on 11th November as a time of remembering those who died. By no means every country marks this day but many of the allies involved in the original armistice do. Continue reading

E0467


Leave a comment

Resurrection hope

On 6 November Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 17:1-82 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17Luke 20:27-38.

I have friends who are philosophers. I don’t object to that but I somehow don’t think my mind works like theirs. I probably tend to be a bit more concrete in my thinking than they are. There are some questions which a philosopher might try to answer which I have also mused about. ‘Can we travel in time?’ is one such question. I like science fiction books and time travel often features in these. Sometimes, with Pontius Pilate, I have asked, ‘What is truth?’ I’ve pondered whether we have free will.

I’ve never wondered whether no one witnessing an event means it didn’t happen. Or whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound if there is no one to hear it. I doubt if many have concerned themselves with how many angels will fit on the head of a pin, which seems to be a famous example of a philosophical question from the past. Continue reading