Cain and Abel

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 119:1-24 (Morning)
Psalm 12, 13, 14 (Evening)
Gen. 4:1-16
Heb. 2:11-18
John 1:(29-34)35-42


Cain and Abel

I have another chance to wrestle with one of my least favorite Bible passages. It’s so compelling that I didn’t consider writing about any of the other readings. From my life experience, I clearly identify with Cain, whose offering wasn’t “good enough.” I also struggled with this passage in 2002, when I was in year 1 of EFM. This story of God’s apparent unfairness really grabbed me. I can handle life being unfair . . . but God??!! Why does he favor Abel’s offering? The writer doesn’t give an explanation. We had an assignment in EFM that led me to write a poem about the story. I wouldn’t write exactly the same poem now, but I thought I would share it, as a basis for your reflection and mine.

Cain’s Lament
So, God, was I just supposed to take it, and pretend I didn’t care?
You couldn’t understand, What would you know of jealousy?
You refused my gift and didn’t say why; you chose my brother over me.
I hated him because you loved him; I loved you, and you rejected me.

So I killed him.

Of course it was wrong, a sin against you.
But I had nothing to lose because, in my mind, I had already lost you.
Now I have no comfort, only the horror of being cast out, alone.
What makes the pain so cutting, what makes my heart so sore,
Is knowing I was wrong. How could I have been so blind?
You’ve always loved me, always will; and I’ll never see you again.


Written by Cathy Campbell

Cathy is a semi-retired professional counselor and Healing Touch Practitioner. She makes a joyful sound in the choir and helps lead the Healing Touch Ministry. She advocates for marginalized groups, especially LGBTQ people.

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