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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10 Comments

  • Reply Nancy Vecchio October 14, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you for your great insight and wisdom. God really only wants our hearts and he does the rest. Lord, help us to let go and give our wholeheartedly to you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 14, 2021 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you, Nancy. I miss seeing your face at CBS. Your insights always added much to our small group.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe October 14, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    We are returning to serve with a church in Stavanger for several months this coming March. I’ll have to find a way to use this phrase! Thank you as always for your deeply meaningful writing, dear Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 14, 2021 at 9:19 pm

      How wonderful you get to return to Norway, Maggie. The church in Stavanger must be thrilled to have you and Mike returning.I have relatives in that part of the world. Tak for reading and taking the time to respond. Always a treat for me.

  • Reply dale October 14, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks Jan. I generally don’t thank people who make me feel convicted, but you get a pass. Here is an interesting thought: “According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70 percent of people who win a lottery or receive a large windfall go bankrupt within a few years.” While I would be among the 30% who would establish a charitable foundation for lost squirrels, our human nature suggests otherwise. It was our sinful nature He came to redeem and it’s a good thing. I like to think I could live on less, but have never come to suggest that in a prayer!

    Blessings and thanks for the friendship that’s better than gold, Dale

  • Reply Jan Carlberg October 14, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Oh, thank you, dear Dale. Our friendship is “better than gold.” It’s a daily struggle to choose thoughtfully. To remain hopeful and grateful is easier when I have food, clean water and air fit for breathing. It’s the saints in faraway places who teach me when they sing praise to God when truly hungry and thirsty. I just don’t want my choices to make their lives harder. We’ve much to learn from each other and about this small planet God called us to care for and bless.

  • Reply Wendy October 19, 2021 at 9:34 am

    So thought provoking Jan. And so important to think deeply about. I have so.very.much. It’s easy to just NOT THINK about how much I have in comparison to most of the world – ie, access to healthy food, every day! Another thing we have that way too many don’t is health care – which was brought to our attention in a powerful way by a documentary we watched called “Bending the Ark”. Whew. I have not read Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer” but it’s about his story and the founding of Partners in Health. I think between that documentary and your post God is trying to get my attention – yikes! I also love what your pastor taught about this – “through you God intends to do something about those things God cares about”… Lord I am willing, help me when I’m lazy and selfish. And help me to consume less, share more and continually learn what I can live without! God Bless you Jan!! <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 20, 2021 at 3:51 pm

      Dear Wendy, you have a tender heart. I did not like the message that I heard nor what I wrote. It irritated me and still does. And I can tell that it didn’t set well with readers..who will pass it along, if liked or connects in some way. I get it. We get so many messages each day, most dire predictions of one kind or another. We need humor and hope. But on the day I wrote, I felt it was something to pass along and underscore for ME, if no one else. Sometimes I need to write it out to know what I think. It’s hard to feel responsible and aware. But consequences for those who come behind us will be even more drastic. And God is allowing us to see a more bleak picture so we can join with those who care about creation. Alas, the Church has not led the way. My prayer is to be teachable as I age. But I wish God would let me choose the lessons.

  • Reply Wendy October 20, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you for being faithful to pass the message along even if it “irritated” you! Of course it’s uncomfortable, but that is not a bad thing. I also with God would let me choose the lessons! Ha! <3

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