The reading for today is Numbers 4:34-5:4.
Numbers 4:34 “Moses, Aaron and the leaders of the community counted the Kohathites by their clans and families.”
At first glance, this passage from the book of Numbers is about numbers and structure. Necessary stuff, but not as exciting as the compelling stories and inspiring words in other books of the Bible.
But look again. This passage is about, first of all, people. When I worked in the ELCA offices, a colleague in the Department of Research and Evaluation had a simple sign on her office wall. It read “People Count.” The subtitle could have been “People matter enough that we count them, and they count for something very important.” Her sign caused me to read books like Numbers differently. Behind every numerical tally of people was…people! People of faith. People with friends and family. People with lives, stories, hurts and dreams. Now when I read in this passage that there were 2750 Kohathites, 2630 Gershonites, 3200 Merarites and 8580 Levites, I can’t help but wonder about these long-ago people from the Bible who wandered in the wilderness with no one but God to protect them. What did they look like? How did they spend their days? How did they express their faith? These questions remind me that this passage is about people, real people.
Secondly, this passage is about leadership, specifically, people who were leaders of the faith community. The people who were tallied in this passage provided leadership for the worship life of the Israelites. They sang Psalms, prayed prayers and tended the altars. They helped the people stay connected to God and to each other. Leadership mattered then, and it matters now.
As I begin ministry with you at Living Lord Lutheran Church, I am also reminded of the same message, that people count and leadership matters.
Dear Lord, please bless the people of Living Lord and give the leaders strength and peace during this transition.
Pastor Lanny firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern – Churches trying to accept change.