On 10 December, the Second Sunday of Advent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 85:8-13, Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8.
If you were to look along the shelves in a bookshop or browse online, you would be able to find many books which deal with the topic of self-improvement. I suppose it’s logical to conclude that if so many books are written on the topic, there must be a ready market for them. The only reason to improve self must surely be because people are dissatisfied with the self they currently have – not fit enough, organised enough, efficient enough, slim enough, confident enough, clever enough, rich enough, and so on. There is a chronic lack of self-esteem around.
You might think that Isaiah likewise has a pretty poor opinion of the human race in general. In the midst of comforting the Jews who were exiled in Babylon, Isaiah says something that doesn’t look very comforting at all. He compares people to grass or flowers which have a transient existence – here today, gone tomorrow. It’s hardly a flattering comparison. It doesn’t confer much value on us. It’s hardly likely to bolster anyone’s self-esteem. However, from an eternal perspective it’s probably a fair comparison. In the history of the whole of creation, each human life is just a tiny blip, a little blink of light and it’s gone. Continue reading