The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Ash Wednesday 2013

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Every year we have held an Ash Wednesday service in the Cathedral, led by Gareth Janus (The Revd Dr Gareth Edwards). Though some may wish that we used music in our services, there is something about just using words, spoken and typed, which lends great power to this way of beginning Lent. The words hang there longer than if just spoken because they are on the screen in text. We wait for the responses from those present and while we wait the meaning of what has been said is impressed upon us.

We confess to you, Lord …
all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience of our lives.

We confess to you, Lord …
ALL: Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you, Lord …
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people.

ALL: Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you, Lord …
Our anger at our own frustration
and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves.

ALL: Lord, have mercy.

The imposition of ashes

The imposition of ashes

This is just a part of what was said. Maybe this way of marking Ash Wednesday would not work for everyone but it works for me. Then, we had the Ashing, or imposition of ashes, when each is given an ash cross on the forehead. We were invited to come forward to kneel at the altar rail. Gareth asked each of us to give our names to him and to include our RL name if we wanted to. Some gave both names, some just their SL name. There was something very powerful about those present giving RL names. It said that this was not some empty role play but a reality that touched the person behind the avatar. To each Gareth used the name given and repeated the ancient words: Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.

My only sadness this year was that my viewer stopped working just before I received the ash cross. However, even with that said, it was still a very moving occasion.

Thank you, Gareth.

Helene Milena – Lay Pastor

Author: Helene Milena

Lay Pastor of the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life. Teacher, counsellor, wife, mother and grandmother.

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