“And the Lord had respect for Abel and his offering; But for Cain, his offering had no respect.” Gen 4:4-5
This week’s reflection is from Mr. John Endress, Licensed Lay Preacher.
Upon suggestion, I re-read Genesis 4. In it, Cain and his brother Abel give offerings to the Lord. Abel’s offering is respected and Cain’s is not. Most folks read Genesis 4 and blame Cain for losing his temper and killing his brother. But I feel that the whole episode could have been avoided, and then perhaps unrecorded, if God had graciously accepted Cain’s offering.
Well, why not?
If offerings should be a certain size, volume, or quality, would God have provided guidance beforehand? And, if somebody comes up short, is it possible there was a poor harvest that year and that’s the best there was? Did God go on a gluten free diet and forget to tell Cain, who could have adjusted and brought an offering from the vegetable garden instead?
My mom would know what to do.
When a small child creates “art”, by crayon or water color or whatever, and then offers it to the nearest adult, the offering is usually accepted with grace. It matters less that the color stays within the lines but that the effort was applied and shared. In the same way, that is why adults accept offerings and gifts graciously. We may regift the item later or sell on eBay, but we should never embarrass the giver.
Just another rabbit hole
I have wondered about God’s response to Cain for a couple of weeks now. The laundry got done, but other chores have been neglected. Other “experts” have asked the question before I did, and are working with the same material that I am, and we all end up in the same place. If the original author’s point was to describe the quality, quantity or the manner of offering, those would have been the details presented in the story. But they’re not. So, I have a choice. I can either rephrase the question to get a complete answer or drop the question. I have chosen to drop the question.
Living without an answer
As I write this, the 152nd Convention has concluded, and it is apparent we have a lot of work to do. It was comforting to note that several of the new suggestions were things we are already doing. Sometimes, the question isn’t worth pursuing when there is more important work that we can and should do. Here are a few suggestions I heard:
- Write your own prayer.
- Do one of the Daily Office services in the Book of Common Prayer
- Now that you’ve practiced #2, share using your social network of choice.
- Tell someone new that your church is active.
- Read your Holy Bible at a consistent time other than Sunday.
- Write next week’s Reflection.
Okay, that last one didn’t come from the Convention. But, you get the idea. I’ll see you out there.