I used to find the book of Numbers boring until the day I actually sat down and read it. Today I have been reviewing the inventory of church stuff sorted in various garages, spare rooms and sheds so that I can hand it over to the "working group on chucking stuff away."
I have learned a profound lesson in the last week or so about how to travel with people in the wilderness. When we closed the building people wanted to keep everything 'for when we get a new place.' Doing my best impression of a kind minister, I let them keep whatever they were willing to store (and put a whole load in the manse). Last week one of the 'storers' asked at the church meeting if we could review and then get rid of some of this stuff that has not been used in four years plus, and/or is actually very shabby. So now the working group on chucking stuff away will review the inventory and bring recommendations to the church meeting. And I have learned the power of waiting.
Forty years in the wilderness was a necessary experience for the Israelites to adjust their thinking and living in the light of their new found freedom. Four years is as nothing by comparison, but it has been necessary for us to understand what our own new status means for us.
So my list of numbers of green hymnbooks, red hymnbooks, offertory bowls (why did we ever need 13 for goodness sake?!) chairs, table cloths, pencil sharpeners and the like forms part of our own Book of Numbers. Not merely an inventory of what we own, but an expression of who we are and where our thinking and growing has taken us. The revised eidtion will be far shorter I am sure, but it will be owned by the community, and that's what matters.