The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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Pentecost 2018

On 20th May, the Feast of Pentecost, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 104:26-35, Acts 2:1-21 and John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15.

Anyone who has contact with small children will soon find out that waiting is a very difficult thing for them to do. They live very much in the now and would much prefer that any special event could happen now, rather than some time in the future. Add to that the fact that the concept of time passing is often somewhat shaky in a child, and we soon have a rather difficult situation. Many parents (and grandparents) resort to saying how many ‘sleeps’ there will be until the special occasion. That works well with our granddaughter Emily because she can count accurately, forwards and backwards. Her latest question is about how long until she goes into the next class at school. As that’s going to be at the beginning of September, she’ll need to count down from about a hundred! Continue reading

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On 15 May, Pentecost, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 104:26-end, Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27.

The reflection looked at the events of the weeks from Palm Sunday to Pentecost through the eyes of a resident of Jerusalem who had chance to witness much of what went on.

It’s been an odd year so far, and that’s a fact. You get some years that just flow on as they should. The festivals mark the seasons – Purim, Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Tabernacles, Chanukah – and then off we go again, all as it should be, nice and orderly.

Of course you do get the odd disruption when some Zealot tries to change the world, and simply succeeds in upsetting everyone and getting himself executed. They’re not going to make any difference I reckon. What with the Romans wanting things all peaceful and controlled and our leaders wanting to have the freedom to do their own thing, anyone rocking the boat is going to meet with problems pretty soon, you can be sure of that. Continue reading

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Unity in Christ

On 8 May, the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 97, Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters” according to an oft-quoted piece of wisdom. If something is to get done, it can be very useful to know someone who has influence, or even someone who knows someone who has influence! There is a chance that someone might be able to “put in a good word for you”, “pull a few strings”, “tip you off” or provide “inside information” or who “knows a man who can”. Any of these might provide a slight advantage and lead to success. In a competitive world, any advantage is worth striving for.

Imagine what might happen if you knew one of the direct reports to the company owner where you wanted to work or already worked. Assuming that person was amenable to helping you, you would have a way to access the top person. The new job or the promotion you desired could come your way more easily as a result.

As Christians, we have someone available to put in a good word for us, not necessarily to get us a new job. Jesus is the Son of the owner of the universe and you can’t get anyone closer than that. The gospel passage for today records a conversation between God and Jesus and it’s about us. We get a chance to eavesdrop on the conversation. Continue reading

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God in us

On 1 May, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:1-10, 22–22:5, John 14:23-29.

It’s really difficult to work out what’s going on if you arrive in the middle of a conversation. Those who’ve been present all along obviously know the context of what is being said as you arrive but without some understanding of what went before a newcomer can find himself or herself totally confused.

Today’s passage from John is buried in what is called Jesus’ Final Discourse which took place on the night before Jesus died. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and commended his example to his disciples as one to follow. A long conversation followed this. It’s apparent if you read the whole section that the disciples, despite being there for all the conversation, were thoroughly confused and needed to ask questions. Continue reading

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Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost is the day that we celebrate the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ apostles and to others. That same Spirit is still available for us. It’s given to assure us that we are God’s children and also to enable us to take action to spread the Good News. As Jesus promised, his followers can do work greater than he himself did, through the Spirit. We in Anglicans of SL represent many nations and are reaching people from all over the world and giving them chance to consider the gospel.

The readings on Pentecost Sunday were Acts 2:1-21 Romans 8:14-17 John 14:8-17, 25-27.

I’ve been spending some days with my daughter and son-in-law after the birth of their baby daughter on Tuesday. As you can imagine there have been lots of cards coming through the door, mostly in pink envelopes. There have been some beautiful flowers delivered and a gift pack containing chocolates and champagne. There have also been visitors calling to see and cuddle the baby and to spend time with the new parents. Inevitably they have brought a gift or gifts, mostly in pink! I’m sure our daughter anticipated being given gifts but that doesn’t remove the joy she has expressed when she’s opened them.

Today we are celebrating a birth also and a gift is part of that celebration, though perhaps not a pink gift! Jesus’ disciples were probably more focused on loss than gain on the last night before Jesus died. Jesus talked about leaving them which was hard for them to listen to.
He himself had been a great gift to them; a teacher, a friend, an older brother. To lose him would be a very great loss indeed. However, Jesus spent the time reassuring them that all would be well. In fact it would be even better for them if Jesus left as in that way the disciples would be able to do greater works than Jesus himself had done. Continue reading

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The challenge of the unusual

What happens when someone breaks ranks and does something unusual? Mostly the different way of doing things is resisted by those who were comfortable with the old way and see no need t change. Yet, it’s possible that God is doing a new thing which should be embraced and not resisted.

The readings at the service on Sunday 28 April were Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148:1-6, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35. Here is my reflection from the day:

There’s a saying in English that ‘a change is as good as a rest’. I have to admit that not all change is particularly restful! It’s definitely possible to change an aspect of life and find it revitalises us. Even deciding to be in a different room can be helpful if you have something to do that you are finding stressful or tiring. Possibly doing a task in a different order might bring renewed energy. Too much of the same thing, day in day out, week in week out, can be tiring and demotivating.

On the other hand, change can be very stressful and tiring in itself. Moving house, though it may be something a person has chosen to do, is very stressful. There’s a lot of work, it’s difficult to find anything in the boxes you have packed, it’s necessary to work out once again where the shops are, what is the best route to work and so on.

Jesus’ disciples had a breathless three years with him. Their lifestyles changed from being that of fishermen, tax collector, freedom fighter, to being the pupils of an itinerant rabbi. Whereas before they had homes to live in, with Jesus they found themselves tramping around the country with no guarantee of bed or food each day. They had witnessed miracles; they’d stepped into the miraculous themselves as they went on missionary trips; there had been excitement as they went to Jerusalem with Jesus; and then it all came to a miserable halt. That halt was only brief before they were catapulted into the next phase of discipleship. Jesus rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven; the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and the work began of sharing the Good News everywhere. Continue reading


The Baptism of Christ

E0274During the season of Epiphany we focus on incidents which show the world who Jesus was. On the first Sunday we remember the visit of the Magi who saw God incarnate in the child Jesus. This Sunday we remembered Jesus’ baptism when those around heard God declare that Jesus was his Son. The readings were Psalm 29, Isaiah 43:1-7 and Luke 15-17, 21, 22. My reflection is given below:

In this world of Second Life, many people try very hard to portray themselves as they would like to be seen. Unlike in RL, that is possible. If you want to be a tiny mouse or a scary monster, a dainty little girl or a furry cat, perpetually young or improbably thin, here it can be done. You can buy who you want to be in an instant. You can modify your avatar until the look is what you are seeking for. If your mood changes, you can change your avatar to suit.

When you first create an account in SL you can choose your name. Once again, most people choose something that sends out some message about them. A few choose their own name now that it’s possible to do so, but I suspect they are very much in the minority. It is the norm not to reveal your real name. The Terms of Service for SL have dire warnings that we are not to reveal anything we find out about someone to other people on penalty of death, or the SL equivalent, namely suspension or deletion of our account. This is a world of make believe and nothing is to disturb that without our permission.

I remember it took a lot of discussion by the Leadership Team to gain agreement that Leadership Team members and Worship Leaders should give their RL names on the blog. It’s a price we pay as a result of being in leadership positions and I know it is very costly for some who would really like to keep their SL lives completely separate from their real lives. For me the transparency on behalf of leaders here is essential and answers the call for Christians to be counter-cultural. I know others think completely the opposite and I respect their opinion. Continue reading