The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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Shepherd and Guardian

On 7 May,  Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Acts 2:42-47Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10.

Sheep and shepherds are the theme in the readings today. They crop up a lot in the Bible as keeping sheep was a common occupation, which is perfectly understandable. Sheep give milk, wool, meat and leather. They are very good at finding enough to eat in quite rough terrain. They are a very useful animal for a family to keep. They continue to be very useful to us now.

For city dwellers, it’s hard to connect with rural images, unless they have grown up or spent holidays in the countryside. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small market town. I could see fields from the windows of our house and used to love watching for the first lambs to appear. My mother’s family were all farmers and so I had opportunities to visit farms. I also saw sheepdog trials. These are competitions where a farmer and his sheepdog have to complete some tasks with a group of sheep which they haven’t worked with before. I was always fascinated by the way the dog would lie low in the grass and then move in response to various whistles from the farmer. The dog could round up the sheep in a bunch and drive them into a small pen, usually with a little help from the farmer. Often at least one sheep would have other ideas and decide to try to go in the wrong direction but, in the end, all would be collected up and placed in the pen. It was amazing how man and dog could work so well together, understanding one another and achieving a task even if the sheep were uncooperative. Continue reading


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Following the leader

On 26th April, the fourth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 23, Acts 4:5-12 and John 10:11-18.

‘Follow the Leader’ is a children’s game. Everyone has to follow whoever is the leader and do exactly as they do. The cartoon of Peter Pan has a game of Follow the Leader in it. John leads the lost boys through a waterfall, over a fallen log, through the jungle, across stepping stones, swinging along vines and through a cornfield as they sing a song. Continue reading

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Slot machine God?

At the 2pm service on Thursday, the readings were Malachi 3:13-4.2a, Psalm 1, Luke 11:5-13. The Gospel passage contains the famous statement of Jesus that we are to ask and we will receive. I asked those present: If we are told to ask and we will be given, does that make God into some kind of cosmic slot machine, coin in at the top, goods out at the bottom; prayer in, request out?

The answers given made it plain that it’s not as simple as that. God is not Santa and doesn’t give us what we ask for. We’re told that when we ask we will be given but not what we will be given. God loves us enough to want to give us what we need, not what we might want as hedonistic, selfish people. God gives as a father does, in a way that enriches his children. He also expects us to make some effort on our own behalf. One example given was that of asking for the gift of patience and finding that trials came along to help patience to develop. This shows that God’s gifts may come in a way that we might not understand at first. God may even take things away from us in order to accomplish giving us what we need. Rather than giving us what we have asked for he may give us the gift of being content with what we already have.

On the other hand, God can be amazingly generous and creative in the way he provides for us. One member had his dream of being a farmer fulfilled by working within a Christian community which had land with sheep and dairy cows. What he couldn’t have done alone he was able to do in community. This same person has been given a car when his own was beyond repair and money at a time when he needed it to start life in a new place.

God will also do things for us out of love which we would not think to ask for. The example of Jesus dying on the cross was given. God’s gifts are more precious that the greatest things we may or may not think that we want. He sees the big picture of life and so can give the good things that are best for us. Continue reading