An excerpt from the Sermon by LouiB Serendipity at the 8pm Saturday Service 8/8/09:
The Leadership team from the Anglicans of the Second Life Ministry is regularly meeting, and negotiating within the wider Anglican Communion to have this place of meeting and worship recognised.
However, the ultimate test of this community of the Anglicans of the Second Life, is not whether the broader Anglican Church recognises the ministry and relationships that are being forged here. It is in the fruit of the lives and relationships that are nurtured here.
How do we explore and understand these elements of Anglican Community in this context? I was going to say ‘virtual context’, but in writing the words I knew that this is the first hurdle we overcome.
This is only a virtual context if it is taken as an abstract thing, virtual meaning ‘not quite real’, or somehow a substitute for reality. However, in my experience, and I am sure the experience of everyone here, this is not a ‘virtual’ context, but a very real one for each of us.
We may be communicating across many miles, or a few, and we may not be able to physically touch any of the things we see around us in this Cathedral, but we can affect them, even ‘rez’ and ‘de-rez’ with appropriate authority.
It is not ‘Unreal’ like a dream, a movie, or a fiction story. Yet even these things of the imagination can and do have a profound effect on our lives, moving us to tears and laughter, and to deeper insight and understandings.
For myself, here, without the physical trappings of RL church there is another experience that resonates with the desert experience of the Jewish forefathers. There is a stripping or laying bare of the things that make RL church ‘real’. I can come in my PJ’s, or dressed in the body of a dragon and no-one is concerned. We are not measured or judged by what we wear, where we live, or how our bodies look in this environment when all of those things are accessible to anyone.
We are also immediately conscious that this form that we take is naturally a mask, a view of ourselves that we have personally generated, driven by whatever sense of self-esteem, interest or desire. It may well seem strange to those who have not experienced or engaged in SL, but I find the avatar character we choose to use is not ‘despised’ or distrusted as a mask, but rather respected as a representation of who we are and where we are at in this moment of time.
It is subject to change, as we are changing, evolving and experiencing ourselves in this new context. In this environment exterior change is easy.
As with all humanity, the bigger challenge is the level of our personal and corporate engagement with the interior life and the transforming power of the Gospel and person of Jesus. So what is this ‘bread of life’ that we share here in SL?
And how do we take this bread and breaking it, share it, and then minister with it as we move out into the context of our community – the wider ‘world’ of SL, and our own RL homes and lives?
These are not questions that can be answered through a sermon. They are the questions that we need to tackle as individuals and as a group each time we meet, and in our individual lives…
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