The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Revd Aaron

4 Comments

This past Sunday we had a special guest preacher, the Revd Aaron Orear (Aaron Ohrberg) Aaron is a priest in the Diocese of Niagara, Anglican Church of Canada. He graduated from Trinity College, Toronto, last May, was ordained to the diaconate last Pentecost and priested on Second Advent, so he still has that New Priest Smell. He was also married this past October, making 2007 the most eventful year of his life…hopefully for a very long time. To listen to his message click on the play button below..
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Author: Mark Brown

CEO of The Bible Society in New Zealand.

4 thoughts on “Revd Aaron

  1. Revd. Aaron,

    Thank you so much for your sermon. Indeed, it is not frequently that we pause to think that it is a city which is discussed in the book of Revelation, and indeed, SL is much more like a city than a garden. And carefully considering the nature of our mission within this specific medium is a very important task.

    I especially appreciate your reflections here on the body – it is a notion that we in modernity often have problems with – some churches especially. The very inspiring bit about body and cross in Eastern Orthodox churches was quite new to me.

    Blessings from a grumpy spike,
    Wilfried

  2. Mostly, though, I’m just thrilled that what I said has lead you to reflection!

  3. About the body and soul question…you wrote, “And now we believe him when he says Lo I am with you always, yet we see no body of his apart from bread and wine at communion.”

    First, I’m glad you brought up communion. I hold very dear the Body of Christ in the sacrament, so I’d not consider us without some relationship (and a profoundly intimate one, when you think about it) with a physical presence.

    There are all sorts of questions about “where” Jesus’ body is…as you may know, that question was part of the early Protestant argument against the doctrine of transubstantiation. Jesus’ body Ascended into heaven, and it stayed there. How could it be present in the sacrament? How could it be present on every altar when mass was being said all over the world in different places at the same time? While this clearly degenerates into some very literal, unimaginative speculation, it’s a good example of the sort of intense conversation the Body has inspired!

    As for Christ’s presence in corporate RL worship, I think this is at the heart of the church being called the Body of Christ. We do, indeed, see Christ’s body when we see our fellow Christians. We are members of the Body, hands and feet and eyes and ears. Further, as Jesus suggests in Matthew 25, we meet him in the world to which we minister, in the faces of every human being we encounter. To see Christ’s body one need only look at the nearest human.

    Even more profound, and also a corrective to potential alienation in SL, is the fact that each of us is Christ’s body. Eastern Orthodox Christians have an interesting take on this…they use crosses with a corpus in churches, etc., but never when they wear a cross around their necks. This is because the body on that cross, the one by their heart, is themselves. The person wearing the cross is the Body of Christ – a beautiful image, no? Alone in your study you sit with Christ, because Christ has been joined to humanity in the incarnation.

    So it then brings us back to presence, being there with people through whatever medium we can. I, personally, would never choose to “do” church exclusively in SL. (If I had no option – housebound, geographically isolated, etc. – it would, of course, serve a vital need.) It’s not that I think it’s wrong, it’s just not for me. But I can imagine a church that reaches into the virtual world, from a base in RL…even if that base is spread out in a hundred different cities all over the world. Just as Christ is with us in spirit precisely because he has been with us in flesh, we can be an expression of the Body that is with, in and around us all, all the time.

  4. Dear Revd Aaron Orear,
    Thank you so much for your reflections on The New Heavens and the New Earth. Unfortunately because of the difference in time zones I was not able to be at the Cathedral in SL in person?/avatar, but have enjoyed listening to the sermon since.

    I have only been in SL 8 days and joined because I was interested in this new ministry and its possibilities. I have been a member of a Christian community in Australia for the past 24 years and constantly marvel at the things God is doing, and how hard we struggle to hold onto what we are familiar with, rather than step out into the opportunities presented by our great Creative God. Thank God I’ve had a forgiving community!

    In pondering the dilemmas’ you present I am aware that even when I am “present” with members of a real church, or even my own family or close friends, I very very rarely, if ever, see them as they really are or am myself, truly present to them., or let them see me as I truly am.

    How different is this from SL? Perhaps only a matter of degree. Fortunately or unfortunately, Jesus sees our hearts whether in avatar or out and knows how to deal with us.

    The other day outside the cathedral a person entrusted to me some of the deepest things within their heart and allowed me to pray for them, a most moving and deeply humbling experience, and I really felt we were both truly present to each other. Not only that, but that Jesus was honoring his promise “that wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there also shall I be!” In your sermon you asked “How we will incarnate that God when most of us will never meet one another in real life.” Jesus is showing us that we are already doing it.” As you say, “here we are gathered in this place, following the stated mission of this church, which is to be the Church wherever people are.”

    I’m not quite sure what you meant when you said “as Christians we have to come to terms with the fact that our God was incarnate in a body and that body and soul are inseparable.” When Jesus instituted the Lords Supper he held the bread in his hand and said “This is my body.” And now we believe him when he says Lo I am with you always, yet we see no body of his apart from bread and wine at communion. Yes there are challenges, but like you I don’t believe they are insurmountable.

    I think the greatest challenges will be in not wanting to hold on to what we know and believe, rather than opening our eyes and hearts to see things anew in the light of the Holy Spirit and the Love of Jesus.

    Just as the Jews had trouble in seeing the new world of the Kingdom Jesus was offering, I think we will have trouble in seeing what He is offering now. If we only bring into SL the bigotry and mistakes of the last two thousand years and the dogmas of past generations we will have nothing to offer people seeking “New Life.” Jesus has given us another chance now. Let us reflect on how we can really proclaim the Kingdom, and the Love of God. What sacrifices do we need to make to show truth and love? Christian Cathedral of Second Life?

    Thank you for making me think and reflect on this subject. God bless you.

    Charlie12string

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