The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Pentecost

On 15 May, Pentecost, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 104:26-end, Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27.

The reflection looked at the events of the weeks from Palm Sunday to Pentecost through the eyes of a resident of Jerusalem who had chance to witness much of what went on.

It’s been an odd year so far, and that’s a fact. You get some years that just flow on as they should. The festivals mark the seasons – Purim, Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Tabernacles, Chanukah – and then off we go again, all as it should be, nice and orderly.

Of course you do get the odd disruption when some Zealot tries to change the world, and simply succeeds in upsetting everyone and getting himself executed. They’re not going to make any difference I reckon. What with the Romans wanting things all peaceful and controlled and our leaders wanting to have the freedom to do their own thing, anyone rocking the boat is going to meet with problems pretty soon, you can be sure of that. Continue reading


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Unity in Christ

On 8 May, the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 97, Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters” according to an oft-quoted piece of wisdom. If something is to get done, it can be very useful to know someone who has influence, or even someone who knows someone who has influence! There is a chance that someone might be able to “put in a good word for you”, “pull a few strings”, “tip you off” or provide “inside information” or who “knows a man who can”. Any of these might provide a slight advantage and lead to success. In a competitive world, any advantage is worth striving for.

Imagine what might happen if you knew one of the direct reports to the company owner where you wanted to work or already worked. Assuming that person was amenable to helping you, you would have a way to access the top person. The new job or the promotion you desired could come your way more easily as a result.

As Christians, we have someone available to put in a good word for us, not necessarily to get us a new job. Jesus is the Son of the owner of the universe and you can’t get anyone closer than that. The gospel passage for today records a conversation between God and Jesus and it’s about us. We get a chance to eavesdrop on the conversation. Continue reading


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God in us

On 1 May, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:1-10, 22–22:5, John 14:23-29.

It’s really difficult to work out what’s going on if you arrive in the middle of a conversation. Those who’ve been present all along obviously know the context of what is being said as you arrive but without some understanding of what went before a newcomer can find himself or herself totally confused.

Today’s passage from John is buried in what is called Jesus’ Final Discourse which took place on the night before Jesus died. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and commended his example to his disciples as one to follow. A long conversation followed this. It’s apparent if you read the whole section that the disciples, despite being there for all the conversation, were thoroughly confused and needed to ask questions. Continue reading


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Love is …

On 24 April, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148:1-6, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35.

Are you familiar with the ‘love is …’ cartoons? These are single pictures with a short message beginning ‘love is …’. They began life in the late 1960’s as love notes sent from Kim Grove, a New Zealand artist, to Roberto Casali, who later became her husband. Kim asked Bill Asprey to take over writing and drawing the cartoon when Roberto became terminally ill. They still appear daily on his blog.

The main characters are a male and female who look like little children. The characters are shown without clothes usually but have no sexual features. The man has dark short hair and the woman has long fair hair. Occasionally children or other family members are shown also. There is a dog which also appears at times.

There are many ‘love is …’ sayings as you can imagine after such a long time. Continue reading


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Active listening

On 17 April, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30.

I remember in the early days of learning to counsel, I and my fellow trainees were taught some of the basic skills and practised them on one another. One of the skills was called ‘active listening’. That label seems a bit confusing; surely when you are listening you are generally not very active. We sit still, or maybe stand or move around, and hear some words and gain some meaning from the words. That’s what listening normally consists of.

 

Active listening involves more than just the ears; it uses all our senses. When a person is telling us something they will do more than just utter words. They will use different tones of voice; speak at different speeds; leave periods of silence; perhaps use a different selection of vocabulary – including or excluding swear words – depending on what they are sharing. They will also show facial expressions which will give some indication of their feelings. They will use their hands to help express themselves. They may move their body around in uncharacteristic ways. If we want to really understand what a person is trying to convey to us about their thoughts, feelings or way of behaving, we need to observe everything that we can about that person. Continue reading


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That we may come to believe

On 3 April, the Second Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 150, Acts 5:27-32,  John 20:19-31.

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.” John even says it later at the very end of his Gospel: “But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” I read these words and I wonder why John didn’t at least give the task a try. How can he tantalise like this, saying that there’s a whole lot more to the story and then keeping it to himself? I want to read the missing bits, I want to know all the extra things that Jesus did, I want a blow by blow account of every miracle, every piece of teaching, every confrontation, every journey of Jesus. But I am denied that. However, John says that what he has written is there to allow us, his readers, to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and to have life in his name as a result.

Despite my frustrations, which you may share, John obviously thinks he has given enough of the story of Jesus to achieve what he set out to do. John’s gospel seems to be the one that has been the most carefully structured to bring about the desired teaching. It’s John who builds much of what he writes around the seven ‘I am’ statements of Jesus, where he effectively uses the name that God uses for himself and so declares that he is the Son of God. John is a careful and thoughtful editor of the vast amount of material at his disposal. He chose to include this story about the disciples meeting Jesus in a locked house on two occasions. These are among the signs that are written so that we may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Continue reading


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Easter Day 2016

On 27 March, Easter Day, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, Isaiah 65:17-25, Acts 10:34-43,  John 20:1-18.

Well here we are, at the Big Day which we’ve looked forward to for over six weeks! I imagine we have each had a different journey through Holy Week in terms of times of worship and prayer in order to arrive at Easter Day.

Here on Epiphany Island we began with reading through Luke’s account of Jesus’ Passion on Palm Sunday. Then on Good Friday at our Tenebrae service we read through John’s account of the Passion. At our Easter Vigil yesterday we read Matthew’s account. Today we could have had either Luke’s or John’s account of that first Easter morning. In my offline church we also read through the same readings on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. This morning our vicar chose to read from John.

There is an advantage in hearing the retelling of the Easter story several times in quick succession. I think it gives an opportunity to really get into the story again, rather than believing we know it all already. There is a chance that something new might jump out at us and make a real impact. As I listened in church this morning, I was struck by something that Jesus said and I made a connection I’ve not made before which I’d like to share with you. Continue reading

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