The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


Seeing clearly

On 26 March, the fourth Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 23Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41.

A few years ago a 40 year old woman, Joanne Milne, from Gateshead in the North East of England, became famous, something she probably never expected to be. She was born deaf and was given cochlear implants to allow her to hear. Having waited four weeks from the operation, the implants were switched on and the first few minutes in the hearing world for Joanne were filmed. The film went viral on YouTube. Joanne was in tears as she heard the days of the week spoken by a nurse. Later she explained how amazing it was to hear running water, birds calling as they flew overhead, the light switch as it clicked, the voices and laughter of herself and friends. Having been aware of the lack of one of her senses, Joanne was learning what it was like to experience something completely new.

I think the man in our gospel story would have a good understanding of just how Joanne felt. He was born blind and was also fully adult. He had lived all his life in darkness, unable to see around him, reduced to begging to make a living. Whereas Joanne hopefully received sympathy and consideration in her life as a result of her difficulty, the man (or his parents) were suspected of being sinners and hence causing the blindness. Poor man! Continue reading

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John the Baptist

On 11 December we celebrated the Third Sunday in Advent. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 146:4-10Isaiah 35:1-10, Matthew 11:2-11.

You may be familiar with the story of Scheherazade. In the book of One Thousand and One Nights, the Persian king Shahrya found his first wife was unfaithful to him. In his anger and distress he married a virgin every day and had her beheaded the next day before he married the next virgin. This went on until he had killed 1000 women.

Scheherazade was the daughter of the vizier. She was very well read, having studied all that she could find about the previous kings and about famous people from the past. She was reputed to have collected 1000 books of history about kings and peoples. She had also learnt poetry off by heart and was well versed in philosophy, the arts and the sciences. She was a pleasant person with a good sense of humour.

Although her father naturally disapproved, Scheherazade volunteered to spend a night with the king, despite his bloodthirsty reputation. When she was taken to the king’s chambers she requested a chance to say farewell to her sister, Dinazade. Dinazade had been told by Scheherazade to ask for a story to be told to her. The king listened as Scheherazade told her story to Dinazade. As dawn was approaching she stopped speaking but the story was not finished. The king spared her life that day as he wanted to hear how the story continued. The next night she finished off the story and began another which she didn’t complete, thus living through the next day. In this way, Scheherazade lived for 1,001 nights, telling 1000 stories. When she no longer had another story to tell, the king had already fallen in love with her and her life was no longer in danger; she became queen. Continue reading

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The ears of the deaf unstopped

On 6th September, the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 146, James 2:1-17, Mark 7:24-end.

In Jesus’ day people with various impairments were marginalised – forced to the edges of society – begging for the money they needed to survive. I have no doubt that some were much loved by their families but opportunities to improve their lot were strictly limited. There was also the question of whether the person or their family had sinned in some way, resulting in the curse of some physical or mental problem. What a horrible question to hang over anyone! Continue reading