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 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. 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.”[d] 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.”
Comment: “What have you done” is not ignorance on God’s part, it is the beginning of human consciousness. Born to live in God’s presence we had to learn to be in God’s presence with confession and honesty. This was and remains a difficult task.
The Gospel of John 5:1-18 (Common English Bible)
After this there was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 In Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate in the north city wall is a pool with the Aramaic name Bethsaida. It had five covered porches, 3 and a crowd of people who were sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed sat there. 5 A certain man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, knowing that he had already been there a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I don’t have anyone who can put me in the water when it is stirred up. When I’m trying to get to it, someone else has gotten in ahead of me.”
8 Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 Immediately the man was well, and he picked up his mat and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
10 The Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It’s the Sabbath; you aren’t allowed to carry your mat.”11 He answered, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”12 They inquired, “Who is this man who said to you, ‘Pick it up and walk’?” 13 The man who had been cured didn’t know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away from the crowd gathered there.
14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said, “See! You have been made well. Don’t sin anymore in case something worse happens to you.” 15 The man went and proclaimed to the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the man who had made him well.
16 As a result, the Jewish leaders were harassing Jesus, since he had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 Jesus replied, “My Father is still working, and I am working too.” 18 For this reason the Jewish leaders wanted even more to kill him—not only because he was doing away with the Sabbath but also because he called God his own Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under theirfeet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.9 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Comment: one of the joys of reading the Bible’s parts as a whole is when two opposite types of stories merge on the same day. Psalm 8 and Genesis 3-4 seem polar opposites, but really show us God’s persistence in keeping covenant with us, through thick and thin. Knowing who we can be: rejecting and sometimes brutal, God’s “good” from Genesis 1 spills over and lifts us up.
Prayer: Lord, we lift your name. How great you are, beautifully and gloriously robed in splendor! Amen.