This Cain and Abel story of jealousy and murder between the first brothers of creation is an archetype of all human conflict and its universal consequences. It is difficult to know what is more painful, the jealously between brothers that results in death, or the enmity between God and Cain that is a metaphor for all humanity’s broken relationship with God. Every day we witness the murder of brothers and sisters because of jealousy, greed, fear, power, hate, with the earth itself crying out over the spilling of blood, and humanity’s toiling on earth as fugitives and wanderers from God and one another. What have we done?
It would be a tragic and hopeless question if not for what God does. God does not abandon Cain. While the consequences of Cain’s actions are severe and lasting, God remains with Cain and even blesses him with protection. Fast forward to the archetypal story of God’s own Jesus, murdered by human jealously, greed, fear, power, hate, and all creation crying out. And what is God’s response but to raise Jesus to new life, for the life of all humanity and creation. Lent’s returning to the cross of Jesus offers the hope of restored relationships with everyone as brothers and sisters, and God’s walking with all in love and peace.
God, bless this world with love over hate, life over death in Christ Jesus. Amen. — LM