A friend of mine likes to say that no nation or people is truly a Christian nation or people until it has a nationally-venerated icon or shrine of the Theotokos. This is not a doctrine of the Church, of course, but it is a cultural observation that rings true in a certain way. There is something about how a Christian society works that almost inevitably results in having a veneration for the Lord’s mother at the center.
Pagans did get some things right. Salvation does mean rescue from Hades, and it does mean being seated together with the Most High God. But they were wrong when they thought you could get it by impressing the gods.
In the baptism and chrismation that we are given, and in the Eucharist with which we are strengthened and divinized, we are given all that we need in order to become members of the hosts of heaven.
As Christians, we are bound up not only with God and each other but with all of humanity. It is our task to pray for one another, to honor one another, and to work to heal hurts, participating in God's work of putting things right that have gone wrong.
Faithfulness to justice, to righteousness, is what it means to be Christian and what is required to stay within the kingdom of God, both in this life and into the age to come.
To be the sons of God, we do the works of the Father in heaven. If we instead do the works of the devil—which are sin—then he is our father instead. And if we do the works of the Father, then we become equal to the angels, the original “sons of God” who do His works.
Horrors are happening everywhere, all over the world. So many say: Sin is increasing. Sexual immorality is increasing. Oppression is increasing. Persecution is increasing. Heresy is increasing. Public violence is increasing. Poverty is increasing. In response is a refrain we see over and over: Why is no one speaking out?
I recently asked in a couple of Orthodox clergy groups on Facebook about whether they have seen what I have seen and heard about anecdotally -- an unusual number of inquirers and catechumens showing up to the parish within the past year.