Meet Abel, victim…
Cain and Abel
4 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.’ 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 But Abel also brought an offering – fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’
‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’
10 The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’
13 Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’
15 But the Lord said to him, ‘Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Today’s reading is a complex and interesting one. It highlights the struggle and enmity that can exist in families. Tensions build up so quickly, words are spoken, actions taken and the results can be catastrophic. What happens in families is a microcosm of the realities we see in the world around us. God still asks the question of us all,”where is your brother?” It’s the same question Jesus asked the lawyer, in the parable of the good Samaritan, who is your neighbour?
Perhaps by leaving comments on the prayer, we can all learn a bit more about our complexities.
My blood was on the ground
Staining your creation
It was crying out for justice
Echoing through the ages,
The cry of every unjust action -
How long must this continue?
My life was slipping away
I discovered shame.
I saw it in my brother’s eyes,
Both of us dying
Sliding into eternity
Longing to be,
Oh Lord must I wait,
Must we wait,
You could say,
I’m still alive.
Waiting to understand,
Why bad things happen to good people?
You might say
I’m a complex character