The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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Candlemas 2020

This is the sermon preached in the Cathedral on Epiphany Island by Helene Milena on 2nd February 2020. The readings were Malachi 3:1-5, Psalm 24 and Luke 2:22-40.

There’s an old joke about the Pope. I’d like to remind you of it, but I’ll change it to being about the Archbishop of Canterbury as we’re an Anglican Church.

It rained heavily one spring in Canterbury and flood waters began to rise. The Archbishop of Canterbury was at the cathedral. When he went to leave, the water was up to the top of the steps. As he stood there, one of the cathedral staff came by in a small inflatable dinghy which he normally used on holiday.

“Climb in, Your Grace, and I’ll soon get you to dry land.”

“I am an archbishop. I have faith in God. I shall pray and God will rescue me.” With that, the archbishop refused to get in the dinghy.

Some time later, the water was spreading through the cathedral and the archbishop ended up standing on a pew to keep his feet dry while he prayed.

An inshore lifeboat came into the cathedral and drew close to the archbishop.

A crewman said, “Climb in, Your Grace, and we’ll soon get you to dry land.”

The archbishop refused to get in the lifeboat. “I am an archbishop. I have faith in God. I shall pray and God will rescue me.” Continue reading

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Ash Wednesday

A Meditation on the Beatitudes*

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Straight to the heart of it:
these folk get the jackpot.
A reward for what?
I’m slightly resentful.
Poor in spirit – what’s that?
Doesn’t sound very worthy…
Deep breath and think again.
These are the people
Who see Christ on the cross
And hurt with Him. They open
up and take Him on.
They’ve let God in at their lowest
And realise he was there already.

2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

That lady who cried when she saw you,
The man who could not meet your eye,
The tentative, stuttering pat on the shoulder,
The mind that only chant, “Why?”

And you smiled and you hugged and you nodded –
And wished you were sitting alone,
In darkness and silence and nothing, inside
The grey world that shadows our own.

But the people around you, though awkward,
(Annoying, well-meaning, too much!)
Are leading you out of the vacuum of grief,
For they are the voices of Love.

And Love knows the meaning of loss.
And Love knows the tears of despair.
And Love fills the holes left inside a numb heart
With infinite atoms of care.

3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Definition of “meek” from Merriam-Webster:
– enduring injury with patience and without resentment : mild
– deficient in spirit and courage : submissive
– not violent or strong : moderate

A proper definition.
The meek:
– go to parties, particularly weddings
– get their hearts broken
– have lots of friends
– die for their beliefs
– do what their mother says
– throw bankers out of the Temple if necessary
– face every challenge, however scared they are
– are good with children and animals (particularly donkeys)
– believe in Love

Recognise anyone?
4. Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God

Grameen Bank, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Liu Xiaobo , Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces, Arthur Henderson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohamed ElBaradei, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Al Gore, Albert Lutuli, Alfonso García Robles, Alfred Fried, Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, Amnesty International, Alva Myrdal, Aristide Briand, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sir Austen Chamberlain, Auguste Beernaert, Bertha von Suttner, Betty Williams, Willy Brandt, Gustav Stresemann, Albert Schweitzer, Carl von Ossietzky, Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Charles Albert Gobat, Charles G. Dawes, Christian Lange, William Randal Cremer, Dag Hammarskjöld, Tenzin Gyatso, Louis Renault, Martti Ahtisaari, Menachem Begin, Ludwig Quidde, David Trimble, Union Nations, Denis Mukwege, Desmond Tutu, Élie Ducommun, José Ramos-Horta, Elie Wiesel, Elihu Root, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Ferdinand Buisson, Nansen International Office for Refugees, Frédéric Passy, International Committee of the Red Cross, Frank B. Kellogg, George C. Marshall, Dominique Pire, Henri La Fontaine, Lester Bowles Pearson, Leymah Gbowee, Institute of International Law, Emily Greene Balch, Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Fridtjof Nansen, Henry Kissinger, Hjalmar Branting, Cordell Hull, League of Red Cross Societies, Jane Addams, Henry Dunant, Jody Williams, The Lord Boyd-Orr, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Juan Manuel Santos, Kailash Satyarthi, Fredrik Bajer, John Hume, Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, United Nations Children’s Fund, Jimmy Carter, Wangari Muta Maathai, Yitzhak Rabin, European Union, René Cassin, Andrei Sakharov, Rigoberta Menchú, The Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, Eisaku Satō, Seán MacBride, Shimon Peres, Shirin Ebadi, Léon Bourgeois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Médecins Sans Frontières, Nathan Söderblom, Léon Jouhaux, Tawakkul Karman, Tobas Asser, Nadia Murad, International Atomic Energy Agency, Norman E. Borlaug, Barack Obama, Óscar Arias, Paul Henri d’Estournelles de Constant, Linus Pauling, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, International Labour Organization, Frederik Willem de Klerk, John Raleigh Mott, Fredrik Bajer, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Joseph Rotblat, Kim Dae-jung, Permanent International Peace Bureau, Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Murray Butler, Sir Norman Angell, Philip Noel-Baker, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Muhammad Yunus, The Quakers, Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Lech Wałęsa, Mairead Corrigan, Ralph Bunche, Malala Yousafzai.

5. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.

At the heart of us there is a hole
And everyone longs to fill it.
It is easiest to look around
and just take what’s there,
fill the hole up with Stuff.
But that won’t work.
Only The Right will do the job.
The Greeks had a word for it.

6. Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

I gave my love a universe,
Of moons and stars.
I gave my love a life
Without any cares.
I gave my love a planet,
All blue and green.
I gave my love the chance
To start again.

7. Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

When I was a child, I loved Doctor Who
and dreamed I lived in the Tardis.
I roamed the Universe, saving people,
But never destroying, a force for good.

Now I am an adult, I live in the world.
The monsters I fight are in my head.
I struggle to save myself.
I destroy just by existing.

I must return to that hope of good.
The monsters can be converted.
If I look for God in the world around me
I shall see Him face to face.

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Today I sat down on the bus
in the “Whites Only” section.
The woman in front of me turned
And gave me an inhuman look.

Today I carried a placard through my town.
The generals called in the army.
The sound of gunshots filled the cafes
That line our town square.

Today we went on a crowded train
and Papa was taken away.
The huts are cold and bare here,
And the soldiers don’t look at us.

Today I was told that I was wrong.
I paid for the world’s mistakes.
I trod a path of taunts and torments
And thought about Love.

***Copyright AoSL 2019
*** Please feel free to copy and use anything on this notecard for an appropriate purpose.

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Thoughts on Creationtide

Well, this is the first time I have been so aware of Creationtide and I have found it a very interesting few weeks. Often, the focus of our environmental thinking is on our failings as a species to care for our environment, and of course we must keep thinking and acting to counteract the damage done. I was aware as I thought of how difficult it is for the Church to involve itself with anything like this without being accused of being “political”. Maybe sometimes we have to be political!

But for me the most thought-provoking moment came when I read a passage from “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald, a passage which I found on the C of E’s Creationtide website ( The Earth, her plants and her creatures bring us joy and comfort in so many ways. I’m looking forward to next year!

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Creationtide Sunday

On 2nd September, the second day of Creationtide, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 36:5-9, James 1:17-27 and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

Earlier in the week I watched a television programme called ‘A week without lying’ (BBC Horizon Scientists studied three people from diverse walks of life to find out if it is possible to live without lying. Using the latest technology, the participants were monitored for heart rate, sweating, body movements and language use to indicate if they were lying or not. Once some baseline measurements had been taken during typical days, the second part of the experiment challenged the participants to live for a week without lying. Continue reading