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).
Each morning we dismiss our school assembly with 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 week, our school put hands and feet to loving our neighbor by completing a day of service in our community, an event we called simply, “Love Thy Neighbor.”
We took a break from our studies, partnered with parents, grandparents, and alumni, and tackled eleven projects to serve our non-profit community partners in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Almost 300 volunteers stopped what they were doing and took a day to love their neighbor. From kindergarteners, who spent the day fellowshipping with and entertaining residents of a nearby assisted living facility, to a group of middle and high school students who completed a beach re-nourishment project, 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, especially through the Trinitas League of Houses, 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 never before has the entire school engaged in such a concerted and focused service effort in the community.
While I know Love Thy Neighbor was a blessing to the organizations and people we served, as is often the case, the volunteers doing the service may have received the greater blessing. Students and parents alike returned 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 Love Thy Neighbor 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 eighteen years: “This was the greatest Trinitas day ever!” To God alone be the glory!