God bless our sidewalks, and the spaces that bring us closer to each other every day.
Instill in us the strength to listen, and give our cities, parks, and streets the grace of rich connections.
Bless us with the patience to treat each other with kindness, toleration, and love, even when our world makes this a difficult task, even in the thousand rushed hours of our daily routines.
Let anger and frustration fall from our thoughts and roll off our backs like raindrops from the awning of a corner store.
Let us travel with the relaxing poise of a drifting cloud.
God give us the strength to love our neighbors as ourselves, to shovel the ice and snow from our sidewalks, to trim our hedges and share the benches in our parks.
Give us the wisdom to be stewards of our inheritance, the parks, buildings, trees, and countless nonhuman lives that form the cities where we make our homes.
Give us the vision to see and know the people that dwell in public places, not just those that speak our language or share our taste in music, but even the strangers to our eyes.
Give us the grace to share our space, our thoughts, and our streets in new ways, to reward ourselves with the compassion, care, and camaraderie that come from lives of rich connection.
God grant us the beauty of long walks.
Let us understand ourselves as we understand our streets.
Let our perambulations be like pilgrimages along our sidewalks and through our alleys.
Give us the patience for a pedestrian pace.
Allow us to breathe freely as we go on our way, and grant us the space for serendipity.
Let us discover new and precious things even in our own back yards.
Let us hear the sounds of birds, bells, laughter, and the rustling of leaves as we wind our way through the coming new year.
God thank you for this life we live together and grant us the grace to receive it with curious eyes, open hearts, and springs in our steps.
[Delivered during the 2017 Christmas Eve service of the Judson Memorial Baptist Church in South Minneapolis.]