The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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The vineyard of God

On 8 October Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 80:9-17Isaiah 5:1-7, Matthew 21:33-46.

Does anyone here have a good memory?

Thinking back over the past couple of weeks, what does the Gospel reading today have in common with the Gospel readings of last week and the week before?

Vineyards feature in all the readings. Two weeks ago we read about a landowner who employed people to work in his vineyard. He caused dissent when he paid all his workers the same regardless of how long they had worked. The vineyard there represented the kingdom of God where the first are last and the last first. Last week a man asked his two sons to work in his vineyard. One said no but later went and did as he was asked, whereas the second said yes but didn’t follow through on his words. We learnt that those who were initially not obeying God will enter the kingdom, but the ones who think of themselves as righteous but would fail to enter as they didn’t listen to God’s word. Continue reading

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Not fair

On 28 February, the Third Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 63:1-9, Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9.

Why do bad things happen to good people? That’s a question many people wrestle with.

We see a loving young mum fighting a vicious form of cancer and it seems unfair. A popular local figure is killed in a car accident that was not his fault and we wonder why the driver of the other car got away with only scratches. Why couldn’t the kind man have lived to continue his great work in the community? Incidents like this are enough to leave some people completely turned off God and faith.

We still have a sense that life should be fair. If someone suffers due to their own wrong actions, we can be quick to say that it serves them right. (Or as Charlie is fond of saying, quoting his mum, they got their just desserts.) This is very much what the Jews of Jesus’ day thought. Tragedy or illness or disability came to those who sinned. The greater the sin, the greater the horrible consequences.

Having had two tragedies brought to his notice, presumably to gauge his reaction, Jesus’ rhetorical questions highlighted this view: “Do you think … they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?” In each case he answered his own question in the negative. Just because something bad happens to someone, it does not mean that they are bad. Bad things happen to good and bad people; good things happen to good and bad people. The world is not inherently fair. It is badly broken and doesn’t work in the way that our sense of fair play suggests it should. Continue reading

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Being Fruitful Christians

The following is the text of the reflection given by Charle12string Lax (Charlie Northcroft) at the service he led on May 5, 2010, at the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life.

When the Gentiles were accepting the good news about Jesus and becoming disciples in the 1st century, some Jewish Christians said they must go through the same processes as they had, such as circumcision, in order to fulfill Jewish laws. That Gentile Christians should be the same as Jewish Christians! Even today some Christian groups seem to think that that everyone should be just like them in order to be acceptable!

Jesus tells us that we just need to be connected to Him. Then we will be fruitful.
The following reflection is based on Acts 15:1-6, and John 15:1-8.

Isn’t it sad, how so often when good things happen, someone comes along who demands things are done their way!

In our Gospel reading Jesus said, just stay joined to him and let his teachings become a part of us, and we will produce good fruit. Yes there may be times of pruning, but as long as we remain joined to Jesus we will grow stronger, and we will produce even more fruit. The kind of fruit produced in our lives will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faith. [See Galatians 5:22]

Sometimes these take a while to develop! Often I need to be patient with myself while a new crop develops, because perhaps someone has shaken my tree, and the last lot has all fallen off and been ruined. Often others have to be patient with me also!

In the Acts of the Apostles we often read how people were filled with joy when they accepted the good news. That’s a very common experience. I remember the joy I had when I first accepted Jesus into my life! Even in the midst of unfavourable things happening, we can still be filled with the joy of the Lord. I was not going through a happy time when I accepted Jesus into my life, yet I was filled with joy. Continue reading