The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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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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Looking both ways

On 31 January, Candlemas, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 24, Malachi 3:1-5, Luke 2:22-40.

The month of January is about to finish. It gets its name from the Roman god Janus. He was the spirit of doorways and archways and possibly first of all was the god of beginnings. All first days, of weeks, months, years and agricultural seasons, were sacred to him. It makes sense, therefore, that the month of January is named after him. He is shown as a double-faced head, facing two ways at once.

At the beginning of the year, we too met here in the Cathedral and faced two ways at once. We used the ancient practice of the ‘examen’ to review the year past. We then turned to face the new year by dedicating ourselves to God’s service in the words of the Methodist Covenant Prayer.

I wonder if you noticed that the introduction to today’s service also has us looking in two directions:

“Today we celebrate both the joy of his coming and his searching judgement, looking back to the day of his birth and forward to the coming days of his passion.”

“Looking back to the day of his birth”: we look back to Christmas as we come to the end of the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany. The stable, which has graced the Peace Garden in this season, disappears for another year. The angels, shepherds and wise men fade into the background.

“Looking … forward to the coming days of his passion”: Lent will soon be upon us, beginning on 10 February which is Ash Wednesday, followed by Holy Week and Easter. So soon after celebrating the wonderful story of a miraculous birth, we have to turn our attention to the suffering of the adult Jesus. It all seems to rush in too quickly. Continue reading


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Candlemas

On 1st February 2015, the fourth Sunday of Epiphany, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 24, Malachi 3:1-5, and Luke 2:22-40.

Candlemas, which we celebrated on Sunday, has many meanings. Perhaps the most poignant is the fact that Jesus is presented in the Temple as belonging to the Lord and Simeon has to tell Mary that she will suffer a sword piercing her soul. What a message to have to deliver! What a message for a young mum to hear! But the cross overshadowed Jesus from his conception. It was necessary for our salvation. Continue reading