‘The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood Is Crying to Me From the Ground’

(Photo by Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images.)

Let’s begin with a story that goes all the way back to the beginning of humanity’s historical record. Genesis Chapter 4, the chapter immediately following the account of the Fall of Man, begins with the story of Cain and Abel. Cain was angry and jealous that the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering of the “first-born of his flock,” and not for Cain’s offering of “the fruit of the ground.” In a fit of jealousy and rage, Cain killed his brother.

Most Jews and Christians are familiar with the account that follows. God asks Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain responds, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” These words from Cain are legendary. They’ve spawned countless sermons, books, and songs. God’s response is less-quoted, but it’s vital. “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”

This is the cry for justice. It’s existential. It’s spiritual. And if there is anything that we should learn from scripture, it’s that the cry for justice demands a response.

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