The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Believing without seeing

On 23 April,  Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 16Acts 2:14a, 22-32, John 20:19-31.

Most people nowadays are very security conscious and protect their homes with locks and alarms. We’re probably quite unusual as a family because we keep our front door unlocked during the day (though not at night). People we know will just knock and walk in, which is pretty much what I remember from my childhood home: a knock and a call of “It’s only me” as a friend or neighbour walked in.

In our Gospel reading today we witness Jesus doing much the same thing. He didn’t ring the doorbell or knock. If he had done, I doubt if anyone would have had the courage to open the door. The disciples were meeting in fear of those who had killed their Lord. They were hardly likely to open up. For Jesus, that was no problem as he simply ‘came and stood among them’. Whereas other visitors might have brought fear by their presence, Jesus brought Shalom – an all-encompassing peace, a wholeness that only the risen Lord could give. If there was the slightest doubt about whether this was an imposter, Jesus showed the wounds he had so recently acquired during his crucifixion. Continue reading


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That we may come to believe

On 3 April, the Second Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 150, Acts 5:27-32,  John 20:19-31.

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.” John even says it later at the very end of his Gospel: “But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” I read these words and I wonder why John didn’t at least give the task a try. How can he tantalise like this, saying that there’s a whole lot more to the story and then keeping it to himself? I want to read the missing bits, I want to know all the extra things that Jesus did, I want a blow by blow account of every miracle, every piece of teaching, every confrontation, every journey of Jesus. But I am denied that. However, John says that what he has written is there to allow us, his readers, to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and to have life in his name as a result.

Despite my frustrations, which you may share, John obviously thinks he has given enough of the story of Jesus to achieve what he set out to do. John’s gospel seems to be the one that has been the most carefully structured to bring about the desired teaching. It’s John who builds much of what he writes around the seven ‘I am’ statements of Jesus, where he effectively uses the name that God uses for himself and so declares that he is the Son of God. John is a careful and thoughtful editor of the vast amount of material at his disposal. He chose to include this story about the disciples meeting Jesus in a locked house on two occasions. These are among the signs that are written so that we may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Continue reading