Recently, I attended the memorial for a friend who passed away this summer. His children lived all around the country and he did not want anything fancy. He was Jewish but not religious. He volunteered throughout his life to make what appeared to be impossible happen. His name was Lee Casper. He helped Sister Rose Martin establish a middle school called Hope Partnership for Education in North Philadelphia. He helped JEVS Human Services on many initiatives around employment for at-risk youth and adults. He was 90 years old when he died and the memorial was packed.
At the memorial, Sister Rose spoke of Lee and noted that inclusivity was one of Lee’s core values, and a contemporary sign of holiness. She heard the phrase at a conference. Maybe you don’t think about holiness, or maybe your do. I would like to explore this phrase for a few minutes. Inclusivity is one of our core values.
Holiness is not about religion. It is about a quality of the spirit. It is about respect; it’s about being at peace in the world and in relationship to each other. It is about taking the gifts we have been given, nourishing them and making a place for others to use their gifts. It is wholeness. It’s not selfish, rather self aware. It’s fine to be joyful and holy, chose how to contribute and be holy. It fine to play and relax and be holy.
We have a wide variety of talents, gifts of the spirit, experiences, colors, religions (or not) at KenCrest. We practice inclusivity. That practice presents a challenge and an opportunity. Holiness is a place of peace, a place where everyone belongs. If inclusivity is the contemporary sign of holiness, then it is a place we are called to be.
It is not easy. You need to think well of every human being. You need to recognize strengths and weaknesses. You may need to cross over to see life from the other side before you invite someone to yours. It’s especially difficult at the pace we all seem to being going. You may need to give up your position to see something new. In that new place, you may see what you were missing all along.
As we work together toward a bright future, peace be with you on your journey for inclusivity.