Thought for the Week: Giving and receiving

As we consider the Theme this month of, “A Hymn of Grateful Praise, I am drawn to sharing some of the native American Indian wisdom found in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braiding Sweetgrass.” She states, “Plants know how to make food and medicine from light and water and then they give it away.” Humankind receives gifts like these daily from the plant kingdom without even blinking an eye. Lewis Hyde, a scholar and writer writes: “It is the cardinal difference between gift and commodity exchange, that a gift establishes a feeling-bond between two people.”

To explain the term “Indian Giver” in its appropriate manner is to realize that the native Indian culture operates on “gift economy” where gifts are not free. The essence of the gift is that it creates a set of relationships. The currency of a gift economy is, at its root, reciprocity. The Indigenous people understood the value of the gift to be based in reciprocity and would be affronted if the gifts did not circulate back to them. The native American teachings counsel that whatever has been given is supposed to be given away again.

This Sunday’s message is entitled, “Giving and Receiving.” All the many gifts Mother Earth and the Divine creator give each and every day are based on reciprocity, a natural exchange that flows in abundance and generosity. In our consumer-based society, we lose sight of honoring the gifts Mother Nature freely gives as we fiendishly consume, hoard, and abuse her gifts. What if we placed ourselves in the seat of being grateful for all living things, including literally the air we breathe being produced by growing plants. The Divine creator, God, Love, Spirit, truly operates from the standpoint of wholeness where all is connected at a core level one to another. Let us recognize, honor and be grateful for the ingenious reciprocal relationships we have in Life.

Say with me: “I stop and extend my gratitude to all of God’s creations and vow to live in balance and harmony with all.”

—Rev. Gay Beauregard, Alpine Church of Spiritual Living


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