The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Different kinds of love

On 12 February Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 119:1-8Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Matthew 5:21-37.

You’ve still got a couple of days (or just one if you live ‘down under’) to go and buy red roses, chocolates, a heart-shaped balloon and a card for the one you love. Or perhaps you prefer to let Valentine’s Day pass you by.

Valentine’s Day is big business for many. Flowers, special meals, chocolates, wine, cards, trips to Paris: if it can be marketed as something romantic, you can be sure it will be. Despite the commercialisation of the day, many really want to take the opportunity to say ‘I love you’ to someone special in their life.

For Christians, love should feature highly every day of the year. Not necessarily the romantic love, the ‘eros’ (interesting that that is an anagram of rose!) of the commercial Valentine’s Day, but the other kinds of love. Continue reading


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Better than the Pharisees

On 5 February Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 112Isaiah 58:1-12, Matthew 5:13-20.

Few weeks go by without someone saying just how wonderful it is that we who come from all over the world can gather in cathedral and chapel on Epiphany Island to worship God and pray together. Technology allows us to do something we could not do in our offline lives. I know that these times of coming together mean a great deal to many in our community. They remind them of God, they encourage them in their daily walk with Christ, they comfort them in times of trouble.

Gathering for worship meant a lot to the people to whom our passage from Isaiah was addressed. These were the people of Judah who had come back from exile in Babylon. Anyone with a fairly basic knowledge of the Old Testament is probably aware that God tried and tried through his prophets to help his people keep their side of the covenant. They turned away, worshipped other gods and seemed quite dismissive of the power which God has to bless and to punish. In the end, the inevitable happened and they were punished for their unfaithfulness. Once back home, it’s easy to imagine how dedicated to God they would be out of gratitude and relief. Continue reading


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Candlemas

On 29 January we celebrated Candlemas. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 24Malachi 3:1-5, Luke 2:22-40.

Candlemas falls 40 days after Christmas, though the number of days may vary if we move the celebration to our Sunday worship as we have this year. It is a festival full of so many meanings that it can be difficult to take it all in. Perhaps for that reason it has acquired four names to somehow encompass as much as possible.

First of all, we remember the ritual ‘Purification of the Virgin Mary’. After the birth of a son, Jewish custom demanded that a woman went to the temple to be ritually purified, having been classed as unclean for 7 days and then required to stay at home for the next 33 days. At this time, the health of the child was also prayed for, as this was considered to be a time when mortal danger for the child had passed. Luke tells us that the customary sacrifice was made, being a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons. This was in fact the sacrifice given by the poor. Had Mary and Joseph been better off they would have offered a lamb and a pigeon. Mary, the Theotokos, the God-bearer, had to pay the reduced rate for those in straitened circumstances. Continue reading


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The Love of Christ compels us

On 22 January we joined with Christians in the Northern Hemisphere for worship on the theme of Christian Unity. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  2 Corinthians 5:14-20Psalm 18:26-32, Luke 15:11-32.

This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the Northern Hemisphere. Each year, a country is chosen to create the resources for this week, resources which are used all over the world. Just the very fact that churches use resources created in a different culture and by many different denominations speaks of a will to move closer to unity between Christians.

This year it was the turn of Germany to create the resources. It is an apt choice as this year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s sending to his bishop his 95 theses about the problems he saw with the Roman Catholic church selling indulgences. This event was a key one in the Reformation of the Western Church. The Reformation led to changes so great that the Church split into Protestant and Catholic divisions. Since that time it has continued to split over matters of doctrine, styles of worship and other issues. The Anglican Church, of which we are part, is one result of the Reformation. Continue reading


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The Baptism of Christ

On 15 January we recalled the Baptism of Christ. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 40:1-12Isaiah 49:1-7, John 1:29-42.

Today is the second Sunday of the Epiphany season. I suppose as we meet on Epiphany Island, we of all people should be aware of what Epiphany means. The Greek epiphaneia means manifestation or striking appearance. It refers to some kind of new insight and realisation which gives new understanding or a different perspective on a problem.

Archimedes benefited from an epiphany when he climbed into his bath and noticed the displacement of water (probably not for the first time) and suddenly made the connection to finding the density of an object. Newton must have seen objects dropping to the ground under the influence of gravity many times, but one occasion proved to be an epiphany for him when he was able to connect the fall of an apple with the force which kept the moon orbiting the earth. Continue reading


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Journey of the Magi

On 8 January we celebrated the Feast of Epiphany. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 72Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12.

The sermon began with a reading of T. S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi

T. S. Eliot wrote this poem not long after he had come to a deeper faith and converted to Anglicanism. In it he fleshes out the story of the Magi from Matthew by allowing one Magus to remember the journey.

We get some idea of the difficulties of the journey. The weather was against them; the camels were grumpy and their drivers were even worse; places to stay were hard to come by; the places they passed through were unfriendly and exploitative. Is there any wonder that voices in their ears would suggest the journey was sheer folly?

Eliot is making assumptions in order to write his poem of course, but so do we all the time. With regard to the Magi, we make a whole set of assumptions all built on the flimsiest of evidence and perhaps a wish to fill out the story with a few more details. How do we know that there were three men who made this journey? We assume it from the number of gifts they brought. We often call them kings and give them names but where do they introduce themselves? Continue reading


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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