Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Story of Scripture: Family Systems

The Story of Scripture
Chapter 3: Family Systems: Cain & Abel

Has something ever come out of your mouth, and you think to yourself, "Did I just say that?".
This also happened to the people in Scripture.

Did I Say That?
1. Peter: I will never deny you Lord.
2. Disciples: Which One of Us is the Greatest?
3. Mother of James and John: I’d like my one son to rule at your right hand.
4. Sarah: I did not laugh.
5. Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

We continue of Story of Scripture. So far we have learned about
Creation: God said it was good.
Fall: The purpose and permission for humanity is compromised.

Today, we see some dynamics from the 'first family.' The human family expands, as do the problems for humanity.

In the story of Cain and Abel, we see the
Randomness of offerings: the rejection by God of Cain's offering. Why was this offering rejected?
Cain’s choice: anger or righteousness (James 1)
The power of sin: Lurking, desiring.
You must rule over it is a command, while some see it as a promise.
Original intent: rule over creation
Post-fall: rule over sin

When God first approaches Cain after his murder, two things happen.
Lies: I don’t know
Misdirection: Am I my brother's keeper?

The short answer for humanity is 'yes', we are called to care for our brother. Each person is an individual, but we are connected as children of God.

The power of judgment:
More toil, fruitless
Restlessness, wandering
Hidden from God’s presence
Death and vengeance
Mark: Protected, and exemplified. Shame and security Walter Brueggeman writes about Cain, “He is protected, but far from home and without the promise of homecoming.”

Matthew 5:21-26 is a passage where Jesus picks up on this theme of the murder of brother/or sister.

In today's Gospel Parable
Peter feels the power to forgive 7 times is generous: Jesus expands that greatly, by saying that 77 times where one forgives is the new standard.
The parable is about God's kingdom: A kingdom where God demands justice, righteousness, neighborliness, forgiveness and mercy

Cain Interpreted: I John

How do we know we are right? Love that flows from faith
What is love?
Jesus Christ laid down his life. And we do the same.
Actions and truth more than words

Walter Brueggeman writes:
Most days we would choose {anything} rather than face the brother. But the gospel is uncompromising. The promises are linked to the brother and will be had no other way. It is a mystery that the gift of new life is so close at hand, present in the neighbor. So close at hand but so resisted. We do not readily embrace such a mystery. Perhaps that is the reason sin waits so eagerly.

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