Maggie and I spent last night camping in the Alaska mountains next to a glacier. It was an amazing reminder of the glory of God's creation and how small we are. What a blessing. Today's reading takes us back to John's vision. We talked yesterday about the beast that represented Rome. Today we learn about a second beast that supports Roman power. We also learn that the power of Rome forced everyone to show a sign of allegiance to participate in the economic life of the nation. There are many places in the world where the church is persecuted. And even when the church isn't persecuted, there are always other powers that want our allegiance. Anything that tries to take God's place at the center of our lives is dangerous. We are called to be faithful to God, no matter what.