What number matters?


Today’s Reading Isaiah 1:1 – Isaiah 13:22

Today, I wake up with a few things still to do. I need to burn the palms, and finish up my worship plan for this evening. I also need to ensure that tonight follows the overall theme we are doing for Lent. In addition to that I have several phone calls I need to make and a few emails to return. Nothing overwhelming but a normal fun-filled day.

We begin our journey through Lent today and depending on how you count it is either a 40 or 46 day journey. In some ways it is all about semantics and others days it speaks to the meaning of Lent itself. However, as I was doing math this morning I came upon a number that speaks to Lent and today’s readings more than any other. Back to that number in a bit.

Today’s reading in Isaiah was a challenge. It was God’s word to a group of people who has turned away from God. It was about God’s people playing AT religion and missing the point of it all. God didn’t want their sacrifices, he despised them. God wanted their hearts. God told them the way to God’s heart was exactly what they ignored; the widow and the orphan, The people of Israel were ignoring the marginalized and the oppressed. God was not happy.

Would God be any happier with us today? Let’s go back to that number. The number is not 40 or 46 but 552. According to an article in last year’s Courier Post, 552 was the approximate number of homeless people here in Gloucester County. 552 is a tragedy. 552 is an outrage. 552 is a number that hurts the very heart of God. 552 could very well be a low number.

There is a meme going around about 40 things to give up for Lent. It is a great idea and I support the idea. However, for me it won’t be enough. If in fact Lent is a time for us to turn back to God…I need to do more. I invite you to join me where you are or participate with me here.

Here is Gloucester County there are many places that helps the homeless and poor. I encourage you to do one of the following:

Have your church or club or office

collect 552 cans for the local food bank..for us here it is the Samaritan Center in Glassboro.

collect 552 dollars for a local program that deals with Homeless families for us here it is IHN, The Interfaith Hospitality Network.

collect 552 books for the local school library to help children engage in education..for us it is the Glassboro Public Schools.

What matters? People matter. Let’s make this Lent something different.


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