The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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The Lord he is God

On 6 August Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 85:8-131 Kings 19:9-18, Matthew 14:22-33.

God can seem elusive, so elusive that some of the greatest saints have found themselves feeling completely bereft of his presence, often for long periods of time. On the other hand, God can choose to be present, perhaps too present for comfort at times!

The two Bible passages today concern God choosing to show himself to his followers in the midst of demonstrations of the power of the created world. Continue reading


God passes by

On 10th August, 2014, the eighth Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 85:8-13, 1 Kings 19:9-18, and Matthew 14:22-33.

When life throws difficulties at us, when we feel threatened by people as Elijah did, or by the forces of nature as the disciples did, it can be hard to keep trusting God. Elijah and the disciples found that God turned up in the midst of their troubles and showed himself to be powerful enough to deal with anything.  Continue reading

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“Why Lord?”

Why does God seem to do things that are illogical or that seem plain cruel? Why doesn’t he stop bad things happening? I’m sure many of us have wondered this at some time. We are taught that God is love but often, particularly in the Old Testament, God doesn’t seem to live up to his reputation very well. Did God change between Old and New Testaments? Are there actually two different Gods? The readings for Sunday 9 June show that God is the same throughout time and demonstrate his love and compassion for the unimportant people of the world.

The readings were Psalm 146, 1 Kings 17:8-24, Luke 7:11-17. My reflection follows:

I imagine I don’t need to tell you that God often gets a bad press. We read accounts in the Old Testament about whole families of the people of Israel wiped out for the crime of one member. Whole nations were slaughtered on God’s command, men, women and children, their only crime being that they were in the land God was giving to the chosen people. An innocent baby who had no say in who his parents were died as a punishment for his father’s misdemeanour when King David committed adultery with Bathsheba. It’s very hard at times to see God as anything but a vengeful deity who delights in killing.

1826h0014Yet despite the knowledge of these incidents and many more God’s people continued to praise him lavishly in the Psalms. In today’s psalm, those who have the God of Jacob as their help are happy. This God is one who brings about justice, frees prisoners, gives sight to the blind, relieves those who are struggling under burdens, he looks after the poor and the stranger. This is the kind of God anyone would choose to have reign over them.

I don’t profess to understand many of the puzzles about why God seems to have acted as he did in the Old Testament. I know that some scholars have suggested that God is different in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old he is an angry God and in the New, God is love. I’m not sure that really makes sense. If there are two different Gods, why bother with the Old Testament at all as it’s not about the God we worship. However, Jesus quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) and didn’t suggest that there had been some kind of exchange of Gods somewhere between the closing of the canon of Scripture and his own arrival on earth. I think we have to accept that God is God, as he has always been. Perhaps the problem in understanding why certain things happened lies with our restricted vision.

Today’s readings from the First Book of Kings and from the Gospel of Luke show no discrepancy between two Gods. In both, God is the God whom the psalmist praises, who ‘gives bread to those who hunger’ and ‘upholds the orphan and widow’. Continue reading


The Transfiguration

1931h0059What must it have been like to have seen Jesus transfigured on the mountain as he talked to two great heroes of the Jewish faith – Moses and Elijah? I imagine the impact of seeing Jesus as he really was, a glorious being radiating the shekinah glory of God and yet still a man. God took the opportunity of that stunning event to give a vital message to Peter, James and John – Listen to him! God says the same to us today.

In our service on 10th February the readings were Psalm 99, Exodus 34:29-35, Luke 9:28-36. My reflection follows:

I really love being on the beach or on mountains, even seeing the sea in the distance or being near mountains is enough to lift my spirits. I don’t think I am unusual in liking these places. I remember reading that these are common places for people to like. The theory is that they are transitional places. The beach is where the land meets the sea. A mountain is where the land meets the sky. It seems we sense something powerful or special; something numinous – filled with the presence of God – in these ‘in-between’ locations.

Last year I went on holiday to the Pyrenees, close to Lourdes. It was wonderful to camp in a valley surrounded by mountains. During the two weeks my family and I did lots of exploring. On one occasion we drove part of the way up a mountain and then began hiking to the top. It was hard work but well worth the effort. We stopped for a rest after a while and I was able to get my first view of eagles in real life. They were gliding on the air currents level with where I was standing. I was fascinated and could have watched them forever. Eventually we climbed so high that we were looking down on clouds, on tiny roads and villages and the eagles were wheeling well below us. There on the summit of the mountain, we were in a different world; the everyday world was far away – small, insignificant – whereas I was in a freer place with a vast expanse of world spread out before me.

Mountains feature often in the Bible when significant events are described. They truly do seem to be numinous places, places where people are more likely to meet with God. Perhaps it’s simply because they offer a more remote place, a place of solitude and silence which allows God to be heard. Jesus seems to have had a very close relationship with God his Father, which is to be expected. However, even he withdrew to pray in quiet places. Matthew tells us that Jesus went up a mountain to pray after feeding the 5000. In today’s Gospel passage Luke tells us that he took the inner circle of his disciples – Peter, James and John – with him when he went up a mountain to pray. Continue reading