The bright blue waves crash on the white sand, pulsing the ancient heartbeat. The salty breeze gently presses against my face. It is wonderfully ironic that the first day back to writing daily devos for our next journey with the Narrative Lectionary would happen while I am on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. I debated as to whether I should write devos this week. I am on vacation, after all. Then I realized how we don’t actually take a vacation from spending quality time alone with God. That would be like taking a vacation from breathing.
So, I sit here, looking out over the vastness of the Gulf of Mexico, and comtemplate the message I hear from Genesis 4:1-16. It is appropriate, I think. The primordial stories of Genesis chapters 1-11 connect us to the roots of being human that we all share, in a similar way that the ocean connects us all together on the planet.
Today’s story grips us with a fundamental question that is more important today than it has ever been. Cain speaks to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We all ask the same thing. As hundreds of thousands of refugees bleed out of Syria, we ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” As I contemplate this vast body of water in front of me, I realize that just over the horizon, straight ahead of me, sits the countries of Cuba and Haiti. Am I my brother’s keeper?
We have the unpleasant, but necessary, reality of presidential campaigns looming before us over the next 14 months. The country is polarized over this question. Do we only take care of our own, or are we morally obligated to take care of each other, all across the planet? I am not very politically minded, so you don’t have to worry about me writing much about the campaigns. I simply want us to consider this fundamental question. Are we responsible to watch out for the good of our brothers and sisters on this planet?
Perhaps a clue to the answer is found in how God treats Cain after he murders Abel. Does God strike him down? Does God belittle him? No. Cain does suffer the consequences of his actions, but God also protects him. God places a mark on Cain that tells everyone else, “Back off. This man is protected by God. Mess with him, you mess with God.”
I wonder. If God was willing to protect Cain, in all of his imperfection, how should we feel about our brothers and sisters that share this planet, and line these oceans, with us?
Just food for thought.
Blessings on this day. Let our journey begin!