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.
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.
Mankind is suffocated by his idolatry. If we want to breathe, to breathe again the Holy Spirit, it begins with repentance. It begins with sacrifice. It begins with worship.
I’ve had more than one person say to me over the past couple weeks: “With Pascha here, I feel like COVID-19 should be over.” Shouldn’t this thing be over now? Christ is risen, you know.
This is a moment for grieving, for deep repentance. It is not okay. Do not try to make it okay. That does not mean that we have to go around depressed, angry, etc. But it does mean that this is a moment for grief.
What I do affects who I am and what I believe, especially when it is something I do over and over. It is my habits, my repeated actions, that influence how I see the world and who I am.
The argument against iconography breaks down because those who reject icons do not understand what idolatrous images were actually used for. They were not merely religious art. They are a kind of religious technology designed to trap and control a god.