June 23, 2017
I was honored to be asked to offer a concluding blessing at a ceremony dedicating and celebrating new sidewalks along Diamond Heights Boulevard this morning. The project had come to completion after an eight-year-lomg process. We celebrated just outside the entrance to Casa de Vida, an affordable apartment building designed to be accessible specifically for residents with mobility challenges. Representatives from city and state government were present, along with organizers from the Diamond Heights neighborhood. After the blessing, a ribbon was cut, and then we walked up the street along the new sidewalks, waving colorful streamers..
On this beautiful, sunny day we give thanks for this neighborhood. We give thanks for the people who work so hard and do so much to make it a place of caring and belonging. We give thanks for the people and the structures that connect us, one to another.
In this week of loss we remember the UPS community, and particularly Mike Lefiti who was such a joyful connector in his service to this neighborhood. In the branch of the Christian tradition of which I am a part, we like to celebrate what we call “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual graces.” If we think of that phrase in a broad way, it seems to me that Mike Lefiti was an outward and visible sign of the grace of connection in this community. The way this neighborhood has come together in its grief is in its way an extension of that connection.
And it seems to me that this sidewalk is also an outward and visible sign of the grace of connection in this community. In its physical structure, this sidewalk signals the grace of the people of this neighborhood making our way through our lives, our work, our friendships, our service, our religious and spiritual practices and traditions. All those who came together, who worked so hard, to make this project happen—those who physically poured and smoothed the concrete, those who organized the project’s completion, those whose work enabled the funding for it—all of this has become an outward and visible sign of the grace of our connection in community. For all of that, I give thanks.
May all of this, the memory and the work of creating connection-- connections of friendship, of family, of labor, of community—be blessed this day.