The virtue for June at Saint John’s School in Chula Vista, California, is Service to God. I teach religion in the 6th grade and introduced this virtue by asking for synonyms of “service.” One student said, “to help.” I asked what it means to help God? Does God need help? After some discussion, I showed a music video of Do Something by Matthew West. In this clever video, people hold up signs giving examples of doing things for God. Of all the signs--teach, volunteer, share, adopt, stand-up for the weak, comfort, rebuild, clean water for all, and advocate--the students favored two of them, smile and hug.
Does God need our help? I go back and forth on that question. On one hand, I think no, the all-powerful God doesn’t need our help but on the other hand, why would Jesus tell us to pray, care, love and help others? But out of the mouths of children, my 6th graders made it simple – to give service to God is to smile and hug. Sure, God can create things, the Holy Spirit can protect, and Jesus certainly can forgive, but can God make us smile or hug one another? Those are things we probably have to do on our own.
There is something about a smile from a child; it can lift spirits, calm nerves, and give hope. Hugs can comfort and uplift a tired spirit. Perhaps service to God, and to God’s Kingdom, is as simple as a smile or a hug which is easy to give and share. In any case, I am not about to argue with a group of sixth graders.