The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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If You Can’t Go To Church In Person Go To An Online Church

Have there been times you just couldn’t get to church. Or you have had an accident and just can’t get out of the house. What if you are wheelchair bound and just can’t get to church. Or you are in a strange country where you just don’t know where the church is. Or you are in a country where going to church is banned and you are risking the death penalty. And long as the internet hasn’t been blocked then you can make it to church. But we don’t recommend risking your life. If you are going to do that make sure your history is switched off and nothing can be stored on your computer. And just remember nothing is private on the internet.

If you are stuck and just can’t make it to church. Well now you can.

A few clicks and you can be in a church and if you can line up the times you can make it to a Mass. There is one problem with going to an online church you just can’t make it to Holy Communion. But you still have community. After church you can still have a chat. After Mass we stop for a chat outside the entrance on the courtyard. At the moment most people use typing chat, I’m hoping that will change to voice chat. In the Chapel for Morning Prayer we use voice chat as there is not many people there. After Church I usually go to the Ivory Tower Library of Primatives Sandbox to talk and meet people. Plenty of space to talk without too many people listening in.

Now the online church I go to is in Second Life a type of alternative life you can live in on the internet. When you look at the homepage you could easily get the impression that it is just a glorified online game. But it is more than that. You have to download a program onto your computer so the program will run. I’m usually a bit cautious about downloading stuff I’m not sure of, especially game stuff but I have no problems it didn’t try to hijack my homepage or anything like that.

And once you are inworld a whole new world opens up for you to explore. If you are shy or introverted you can live behind your avatar and come out of your shell, because no one can see you and you can redefine your comfort zone. At the Little Chapel for Morning Prayer I sometimes do the one of the Readings from the Bible and you can do. So if you have always wonted to do the one of the Readings in church, now is your chance. I’ve always wondered how I sound coming out in the Little Chapel. Because everybody’s sound system is different I would probably sound different on all computers.

Also it is a dream come true for people with physical disabilities. In the movie “Avatar” the guy could walk around in the virtual world but in reality he was confined to a wheelchair and it could be the same for you. In this world you are what you can be so if you can’t leave your house the virtual world is open to you. Give Second Life a look, it’s free. I’ve been inworld for years now and if you don’t want to spend any money you don’t have too. You can come and go as you please, as often as you like without paying anything.

There is a money system available “Linden dollars” if you want to get into the commerce side of things. And don’t worry about your age all avatars look young. And what’s an old dude like me doing playing around on the internet. Well to be honest I think I could be one of the young ones. In the virtual world age doesn’t matter, you just have to be there to meet the people. I’ve never had any problems there but the same internet rules apply. Don’t give away your personal information and you will be okay.

I went looking for a church one Easter because I couldn’t make it to my church. So I checked out the internet and it took me a while to get the times figured out and now I go as often as I can.

Second Life is huge and it is very easy to get lost in there. After you have signed up and downloaded everything and you are ready to go. I would go to “World” on the top toolbar and from the dropdown menu click on “Search” and you end up on the “Events” page. If you want to find something to do just browse the “Events” but then you have to line up the times. The “Events” are where you meet people.

Now if you want to go to a real online live Mass you have to go to now this is another amazing part of the online world. Same as with Second Life you have to line up the times and you can sit in watching the Mass just like you are in a real Church. The cameras are usually just webcams and I think in some cases they are from the security system. It just depends on which church you go to. And again it is free. I love the internet. And there are plenty of Churches to go to. You can pick your language as well as the times. Church in Second Life is in English so far, where as in ustream it can be in any language. But inworld you can use any language you like, as long as you find somebody who speaks the same language.

Sometimes you might think some people are rude because they don’t talk to you but that is probably due to the wrong language.

Now to find a Church type Church or Churches in the search box, then click on “Everything” and from the dropdown menu click on “Places” then check “off” M for Mature and A for Adult, just search under “G” then hit the search button. That will give you over 100 results so you can either start going through the list or you could refine the search. Now to refine your search you have to click on “Search Home” and start again. This time type in Anglican Church and you should end up at the Cathedral I go to. Since Second Life is huge the learning curve can take some time but there are always people out there ready to help you. Just ask.

Well that’s it, now you have the Churches you can go to when you can’t go to Church. Once you are set up and know when the times match, Church is just a few clicks away.

See you in Church.

Peter Legrove

You can reprint this article anywhere as long as it is free, not changed and the resource box is intact. copyright(a) peter legrove 2012 all rights reserved

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Will you let me be your servant?

” The Servant Song” was written by Richard Gillard and is well known in many Christian circles today.
It is the most fitting sense of today’s Gospel that I could imagine.
I have shared this song in a variety of Christian settings over the last 30 years.
Each time it has carried deep meaning to all the participants in any setting.
The most meaningful settings, however, have been in the context of small prayer groups dedicated to living and learning together.

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Lessons on Accepting the Kingdom of God as a child: by Xena the wonder dog.

Today’s Gospel begins with a hard teaching on divorce, and then concludes with Jesus blessing little children. As I reflected on this passage I thought how paradoxical of life, and of Jesus, to put simple things into hard terms, and hard things into apparently simple terms. What to deal with first? Well since it is the Feast Day of St Francis it seems better to me to start with the more difficult part of this passage: Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. This part of the reading is most appropriate for today as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, who is internationally recognized as the Champion of Peace and friend of all animals and the environment. To help me with this reflection I also asked for help from my friend Xena, the wonder dog. Xena is a Staffordshire bullterrier, usually called a ‘Staffy’ in shorthand by Australians. Xena lives with a good friend of mine and has the most placid and “peoplised” manner of any dog I have met. Xena has exceptional manners and can be taken anywhere a people should want to go with no doubts at all that she will behave appropriately and charmingly at all times. There is one place only where this rule is challenged, but it is a rare event, so we can let that discussion go until later. I call her the wonder dog for two reasons: 1. I wonder if she really is a dog, she is so peoplised and well behaved. 2. I look at her as I explore life, and find myself asking: “I wonder, dog, what you are thinking about life now?” If Xena could answer that question I am sure she would tell you about her life like this:

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“Whoever is not against us is for us.”

The message today is taken from Jesus’ words to the disciples in Mark’s gospel: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

I hope that this message can be taken in deeply by the many Christian groups in the world today. Too often the phrase is turned around to say “whoever is not FOR us is against us”. This creates a very insular outlook, where everyone and everything is measured by my standards. If they don’t fit in, don’t look ‘right’, don’t say the right things, don’t believe the EXACT same things, then THEY are not right. Like a formula for creating gold from straw, they must become like me, in order to be acceptable, and of course that is not possible.

Turning the phrase around, as Jesus did, has quite profound effects. “Whoever is not against us is for us.” How do you measure if someone is not against you? Like the measure of the enemy in C.S. Lewis’ “Last Battle”, it is no longer about which football team you follow, and whether you are wearing the right ‘colours’.

It is much more a matter of really knowing what is it that we stand FOR, what are the things that are really important.
What are our values, priorities, and relationships, with ourselves, with each other and with Jesus -and how do we express these?

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Jesus and the Child

under_his_wing by Jay B Ward_lJesus has given some astounding teaching to his disciples over the past few weeks, and He continues to do so today. Some of the challenges that the disciples faced are so far removed from our world view that it is difficult to conceive HOW challenging it must have been for them.

We have the advantage of two thousand years of reflection and engagement across human experience.

In our time the taboos, misunderstanding, and the natural instincts of societies built by and for the strong and beautiful, no longer openly supports the outright suppression of foreigners, women and children.

These attitudes do still exist though, and don’t be mistaken about that.
We tend to hide our racism and prejudices economically and socially in a number of ways that make it less obvious how poorly our world is structured still. I wonder how each one of us would cope with our world views’ being DAILY challenged in the words, example and life demands that Jesus is putting his disciples through.

For myself I can say that whilst this is perhaps not DAILY, it is certainly constant, as I engage with the scriptures and prepare for this service every week. I hope that I bring some of that journey to this service in a meaningful way for each of you to take a piece and reflect upon in your own lives.
The key depends on our life circumstances and just how close to the rubber hitting the road that our life actually brings us to these examples Jesus is giving.

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Who do you say that I am?

The theme of my Message today is: Who do you say that I am?
In Mark’s gospel Jesus begins to reveal his true identity to the disciples.
We can see how Jesus uses his time to teach the disciples as travels with them from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi.
Time is spent reflecting on the previous events and the disciples’ experiences.
Rather than starting with a direct question Jesus begins by asking what the disciples have heard being said of him by the crowds.
Clearly the answer is very significant to the ministry of Jesus: John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets?
The expectations of the people are reflected in these statements.
They are seeing in Jesus the work and hand of God being revealed.
Jesus then asks the disciples to reflect on their own understanding in light of the statements of the crowds and of their own experiences. The direct question comes: Who do you say that I am?
Peter answers for them all: “You are the messiah!”
And Jesus begins to teach them, showing them a deeper understanding again.

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You have the words of Eternal Life!

Throughout my prayers for today’s message a single phrase kept coming to mind.

The words of Peter to Jesus in today’s Gospel : “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

There have been many times in my life, times of difficulty and struggle, that I have found myself saying these same words. Sometimes it seems very much that life, and God, is not fair.

Sometimes what is being asked seems impossible! How can I do that?

What is the real nature of this God whose love also permits great suffering and pain?

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