By the Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom.
In our Worship Associate conversation about abundance, our November theme, Robert Szymanski asked the provocative question, “What is ‘enough’?” Since then, I have been thinking about abundance and scarcity, in the context of enough. There are the basic needs baselines of enough: clean water, healthy food, shelter, heat, and medical care. Then there are the slightly higher needs like safety, community, and love. Even further up the scale are needs like self-esteem and purpose.
Thinking about abundance while looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I am struck by how much our society concentrates on material abundance when there are so many other forms of human need. We ask ourselves—do we have enough money? Do we have enough stuff? Did we save enough for retirement? Do we have the right clothes/car/shoes/house/vacation?
Of course, when there is not enough to meet the basic human needs, questions about material need are not only important, they can be life-and-death. But once basic material needs have been met, studies have shown that more money does not improve human quality of life. Why, then, are we so focused on it?
In church, we focus on community, love, self-esteem, and purpose. We also focus on the justice factor of painful differences in how our society distributes material and psychological resources. We hope to serve the needs of our members, while also working for all people to have the opportunity to have their basic, community, and purpose needs met. We use our creative imagination and our communal power to move toward a world where abundance applies not just to the Thanksgiving table but to all peoples’ possibility of living out their dreams.
We are in a season of discerning our dreams at First Church. The Gifts Acceptance Team for the Lu Krug bequest has been assembled and approved by the Board of Trustees according to Board policy. Team members are Elizabeth Lentini, Gordie Mueller, Dave Becker, Lianna Bishop, and Holly Patzer, and staff supported side of Jean Johnson and myself. The team will follow the Board’s framework for bequest allocation, guided by the Ends the Board will be developing from congregational input in the Our Courageous Future: Deepening Our Vision Together workshops, and will consider how to take this magnificent material abundance and use it to create an abundance of community, love, and purpose.
To living and dreaming in all varieties of abundance,