I stumbled this morning upon an unanticipated field, in an unexpected place. It took my soul unaware Ö painting a picture my eyes had níer before beheld, filling my heart with immeasurable sorrow.
Itís a field of another Iíd been visiting these past few days, the field of Cain, maybe better understood, I think, as the field of self.
Itís a field I hadnít been all too comfortable in, hitting a little too close to home as I had to ask myself how often had I, in bringing offerings to God, been little different from Cain. How often had I brought self, fully inflated, before the Lord, rather than a vessel emptied of self Ö rather than a heart more attuned to Abelís?
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. (Hebrews 11:4 Ė ESV)
But any allusion of comfort shattered this morning when the eyes of my heart alighted upon that field Ö as One stood before me holding out a cup and a piece of bread, broken.
And Cain saith unto Abel his brother, `Let us go into the field;' and it cometh to pass in their being in the field, that Cain riseth up against Abel his brother, and slayeth him.
(Genesis 4:8 Ė YLT)
Suddenly I understood that field as my field, where self and righteousness cannot abide together. A field where I, in my own sin, rose up against Godís righteousness Ö and slew Him. A field purchased by love, purchased by blood, that I might truly die to self and live to God.
I stood in that field this morning, Communion Sunday, in a fresh and new way. I donít want to be like Cain, clinging so fast, so tightly, to self that I will choose to flee the presence of Almighty God.
In Hebrew Cainís response to Godís truth can also be rendered: My evil is greater than I can bear. And, indeed, it is Ö so Grace chose to bear that burden, and I stand awash in it this morning because the Righteousness of God shed His own blood on my behalf.
I donít know that I will ever sit in a Communion service quite the same again, picturing the bludgeoning that took place in that field of sorrow, I bludgeoning my own hand is guilty of, a field known in the beginning Ö yet a shadow of another field of sorrow that would cover my sin for all eternity.
Maybe it was said best in a song familiar to each of us.
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
O Sacred head now wounded
With grief and shame weighed down
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns Thy only crown
How art Thou pale with anguish
With sore abuse and scorn
How does that visage languish
Which once was bright as morn
What Thou my Lord hast suffered
Was all for sinner's gain
Mine mine was the transgression
But Thine the deadly pain
Lo here I fall my Savior
Tis I deserve Thy place
Look on me with Thy favor
Assist me with Thy grace
What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee dearest Friend
For this Thy dying sorrow
Thy pity without end
O make me Thine forever
And should I fainting be
Lord let me never never
Outlive my love to Thee
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.