The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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Why bother?

On 31st May 2015, the Trinity Sunday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17 and John 3:1-17

Many years ago, when our children were still young, the Sunday School teacher, Richard, came up with a novel way of introducing the notoriously difficult concept of the Trinity on Trinity Sunday. Fortunately at the time, our local rugby league team was called ‘Wakefield Trinity’. Richard armed the Sunday School children with biscuit tins and wooden spoons. They marched into church banging the tins in time to the chant of ‘Trin-i-ty, Trin-i-ty’, just like a noisy crowd at a rugby match.

I have to say that, although the entrance made by the youngsters has really stuck in my memory, I can’t remember how Richard followed that up in explaining the Holy Trinity to those gathered. I do know he got a fair few disapproving comments from the older members of the congregation who weren’t so keen on the noise! Perhaps the explanation was lost on them too. Sadly the opportunity to repeat the event is not there as the rugby team is now called ‘Wakefield Wildcats’ which doesn’t seem much use for explaining or even introducing the Trinity. Continue reading

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Trinity Sunday

On Trinity Sunday we do not remember some incident from Jesus’ life, a parable he told or some teaching. Instead we remember God as Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We spend time just appreciating God as God. The doctrine is not easy to understand but it’s still worth the effort to at least make an attempt.

The readings were Psalm 8, Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15.

As some of you will know, I am studying theology. People who undertake this are warned that in studying theology many deeply held views will be challenged, potentially leaving the person’s faith quite shaken. There have been times when that has happened to me, I admit. Far more often I have been very shaken by realising just how much I have taken for granted in matters of faith without really giving the matter much thought.

Theology has been defined as ‘faith seeking understanding’ which makes sense to me. I’ve had faith since I was very young, I have taken various components of faith on face value, and only recently have I dug deep to try to understand. Often I have found that theology has been faith seeking a headache, but I am glad to be learning more.

I was amazed when I studied the early church to find out just how hard the Christians of the first few centuries after Jesus’ death had to work to find some kind of understanding. Much of this centred around what we are celebrating today, which is God as Trinity, one God but three persons. Those from the eastern, Greek speaking church began with the fact that Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist and asked how three could be one God. Those from western, Latin speaking church started from the fact that we worship one God and asked how he could then also be three, a Trinity.  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