Notes from Jan

Enough

October 13, 2021

Early on, my brothers and I learned a few Norwegian phrases like, “nok er nok.” It meant, “enough is enough!” For my parents and us, it functioned like an early warning system. They expected us to cease and desist, knock it off and get serious, or else. It wasn’t up for discussion.

Then, last Sunday, Father Patrick, unaware of my childhood aversion to certain words, challenged me to enlarge my understanding of when “enough is enough.” How do my daily choices impact whether others have enough water, clean air or healthy food? Alas, my cupboards, pantry and refrigerator testify that I have more than enough. I am guilty of excess and someone else is paying the price for my extravagance.

So, what does this have to do with church? if sounds more like the nightly news or a lecture on climate change. Perhaps. But our minister’s doing a series on the Beatitudes and this Sunday he focused on, “The Hungry and Thirsty.”(Mathew 5 and Luke 6) Sometimes it’s safer to think only in spiritual terms. But Jesus doesn’t let us separate the physical from the spiritual. Every day life is holy. Scraps of time and food are sacred. Some of Christ’s miracles fed real food to hungry folks. After everyone had enough, “the disciples gathered up all the leftovers.”(Luke 9:17, NLT) Jesus wastes nothing, neither scraps of food, nor people and our experiences.

But then Father Patrick reminded us, “God’s good creation was fundamentally disrupted by a human act of disobedient eating.” Remember Adam and Eve? He quoted Chris Doran(author of Hope in the Age of Climate Change: Creation Care this Side of the Resurrection), ” But we’ve been given another meal, one that transforms, redeems that first disobedient eating.”

We call this meal,The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion or the Eucharist. It offers forgiveness and HOPE. “In this meal the one who has risen from the dead gives us himself, so that we will be hungry and thirsty for the right things, for the things God cares about.” Then adds, ” through you God intends to do something about those things God cares about. Because Jesus rose from the dead, there is HOPE. But this meal is also about ENOUGH. This is the meal of enough.”

Think about it. It’s a small piece of bread or a wafer and just a sip of wine or grape juice. “And that quantity of ENOUGH can start to shape all the other quantities of our life, of what we REALLY need, of when enough REALLY is enough.”

Well, after Sunday’s sermon, “Nok er nok” sounds more like a call to contentment. It is about consuming less, sharing more and learning what we can live without. What am I really hungry and thirsty for?

God knows.

I’m still learning.

Hopefully.

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