When asked which is the “great commandment?” Jesus tells those gathered to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Then he says the second, which is like it, is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Astonishing the hearers, Jesus confirms that all the law and the prophets can be summed up in those two commandments (Matt 22:36-40).
A common refrain within the Trinitas school day is an abbreviated version of those two summative commandments, telling Trinitas students to “Love God, and love your neighbor.” After all, if one keeps those two commandments, everything else really falls into place. But to say it is one thing; to do it is entirely something else. Last Friday, our school put hands and feet to loving our neighbor by completing a day of service in our community, an event we call simply, “Love Thy Neighbor.”
We took a break from our studies, partnered with parents, grandparents, and alumni, and tackled more than a dozen projects to serve our non-profit community partners in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Over 300 volunteers stopped what they were doing and took a day to love their neighbor. From packing lunches for a weekend feeding program for kids, to doing yard work for senior citizens, there were service opportunities for all ages.
Service to others is a Christian duty, and it is not new to Trinitas students. Over the years, Trinitas students have participated in hundreds of service projects; in fact, one of the requirements for graduation from Trinitas is to earn 160 hours of service in 9th – 12th grades. But the high point of our commitment to serving others has been these five years of the LoveThyNeighbor event which has brought the entire school together in a concerted and focused service effort in the community.
While Love Thy Neighbor is a blessing to the organizations and people we serve, as is often the case, the volunteers doing the service receive the greater blessing. Students and parents alike return at the end of a long day of serving with smiles on their faces and hearts aglow for the opportunities they had to give themselves to something far greater than themselves. While the great work of teaching children to read and write and reason is an important calling, training them in the virtue of Christian service is of far greater eternal value. It is an honor for Trinitas to partner with Christian families and their churches to cultivate such virtue in the next generation of Christians.
We especially thank all those volunteers, sponsors, and community partners who made the 5th year of LoveThyNeighbor possible. The event would never have happened without the overwhelming support we received and the blessing of a loving and good God. The whole day can be summed up in the words of a Trinitas mother whose children have been at the school for over twenty years: “This was the greatest Trinitas day ever!” To God alone be the glory!