I hope that I will become a better Christian, better husband, better father, better priest, better communicator, better story-teller and better writer. Because in the end, everything is one. And de-fragmenting ourselves in Christ is one way of seeing what this life is about.
Just because something is conventional doesn't mean that it's the whole of Orthodox Christianity. Let's break the false domes of our conventional universe of discourse and look up to see the very dome of heaven.
The cosmic war between God and His enemies the fallen angels is going on all around us and even within us. And we have been given the Cross, the very Staff of God, as a weapon against the demons.
The Forerunner, having announced Christ’s coming to those on earth, is beheaded now and sent to preach even in Hades, announcing His coming even to that place. And his shout rings throughout the underworld, warning that the Lord of Life is coming to break open the gates of death, throw down the lord of death from his throne, and to release those who lie in hope in the underworld.
The encounter with a dragon is a signal to man that he is not in control of his world. The dragon is never a pet. But the dragon is also a signal to man that the world he thinks is the world is not actually the world, that there is something Else that intrudes upon it and with which he must reckon.
Make this gospel of Jesus Christ the very center of who you are. Make this gospel the center of your home, the center of your families, the center of this parish. Make this gospel what this parish is known for. Make this gospel what informs every thought that you have, every decision that you make. Teach this gospel to your children, share it with your neighbors, cultivate it in your families, bear it with you where you work and everywhere you go.
However you want to understand why there are demons on the earth even now, it is true that they are real and they are present. It is true that the suffering of this world is closely associated with their activity.
With the calling of these disciples, Christ is building His army. Later in the Gospels, we will see Jesus’ disciples doing what He does in the very next passage after this one—casting out demons, calling people to repentance. And this is not only His army but also His government.