A Spiritual Practice of Gratitude

By Joseph Plumme

UUFSMA Board Secretary

For people of Native American descent, the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving can be a day of mourning for their ancestors’ genocide by European settlers. At the same time, the holiday is a family occasion to share a meal and express gratitude for life’s many blessings.  

This Sunday the Reverend Tom Rosiello, UUFSMA minister, will explore the complex history of the holiday and the spiritual practice of giving thanks. He says, “Whether or not you believe in a god to whom to give thanks, giving thanks, especially for unattributable and unearned blessings, is critical to spiritual wellbeing.»  

It is important to recognize the horrible suffering and genocide of Native American and indigenous peoples of all cultures at the hands of European invaders of their lands. Also important is a holiday cultivating the spiritual practice of gratitude. “The importance of giving thanks to other individuals, the community, God, and the universe has been recognized well beyond the United States and in traditions without connections to U.S. history,” Rosiello says.

The psalmists instruct us to «give thanks to God, sing songs of thanksgiving, and enter into the presence of the sacred with gratitude.» Buddha also espoused the practice when he stated, «You have no cause for anything except gratitude and joy, and it is gratitude that turns what we have into enough.» 

Despite its difficult connection to Thanksgiving, Native American tradition recognizes a time for gratitude, especially for harvests and earth’s blessings. Here in Mexico the spiritual practice of gratitude is potent. If they pray for a miracle or blessing and then receive it, many Mexicans commission a small painting, usually presented on tin, to express gratitude. 

This Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, practice spiritual gratitude. Come to enjoy a display of Mexican retablos expressing gratitude. Parts of this service will be in English and Spanish. The sermon’s Spanish translation will be available for those attending in person.

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal faith inviting its community to gather around a set of harmonizing values and principles for living. Our Fellowship welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Belief in a divinity is not the central issue around which we gather. Rather, we come together with a belief in community, love, compassion, social justice, and reverence for nature, all within the interconnected web of existence.

UUFSMA donates generously to support nonprofit organizations that provide health, educational, and environmental services for underserved communities in the San Miguel region. Please support this work by clicking on the website home page Donate button. To participate online in our Sunday Service, visit www.uufsma.org and click on the Zoom Service button on the home page. If requested, enter password 294513. Sign in from anywhere Sunday mornings between 10:15-10:25 am. Enjoy previous services at https://www.youtube.com/UUFSMA. While continuing online services, UUFSMA has returned to in-person Sunday services. Reservations are not required.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Sunday Service

A Spiritual Practice of Gratitude

Speaker: Reverend Tom Rosiello

Sun., Nov. 20, 10:30am

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/414604040  

Password: 294513