The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Ash Wednesday

On 1 March, Ash Wednesday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Joel 2.1-2, 12-17Psalm 51:1-18, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.

The Ash Wednesday liturgy we are using, taken from the Church of England resources, is rich in content. There is barely any need of a reflection if you pay attention to the words of the liturgy. I will therefore confine myself to a few words which highlight what Lent is about, to remind those who are familiar with the season and to inform those who aren’t.

Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. To go straight to Easter without preparation is rather like seeing the view from the mountaintop without climbing the mountain. That can be done where trains or cable cars take people to the top but there is something missing from the experience if you have not got there by making some effort.

Lent is a time to consider just why Easter is part of the Christian story at all. By focusing on our own mortality and sin, we see clearly that only God is able to save and restore us, which he did through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the supreme act of God’s grace, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.

Lent (which comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for Spring, when the days lengthen) is a period of 40 days, beginning today on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Eve. For those who are interested in the arithmetic, the Sundays of this period are not counted as part of Lent. They are little celebrations in anticipation of the great celebration of Easter. Continue reading


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Majesty revealed

On 26 February Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 99Exodus 24:12-18, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9.

It’s tempting to believe that our world in the 21st Century and the world of the New Testament, which is the 1st Century, are very different indeed. In two thousand years many things have changed, obviously. There was no internet – can you imagine that? In the first century, communication technology had reached the level of pen and parchment. Transport was hazardous and slow. Health care was rudimentary. Life was cruel and short for many.

Yet there were many similarities to our world also. Culture and knowledge flourished: art, sculpture, drama, sport, architecture, law, geometry, astronomy, philosophy. The Romans provided administration, government and technology such as road building and aqueducts to provide fresh water to communities. The culture, however, was Hellenistic. Most people spoke Greek as one of their languages, much as English is widespread now, and this enabled trade to be conducted between countries. Continue reading


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Ash Wednesday 2013

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