One of the things I do with my time is teach Sunday School- usually first grade, although I float around a bit. Today, I had my first graders. They are a rowdy group, but there were only six of them and me. Our lesson for the day (we do Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) was on the parable of the Mustard Seed, but that part wasn't really interesting. Before class really started, one of the little girls found a plastic frog sitting on the art supply table. I have no idea why it was there, its actually been there most of the year. So the three kids who were there took a vote, and named it George Washington- but decided to call him George. Within a few minutes, George had become the class pet. With all of their spare time for coloring and playing, the kids made stuff for George: valentines, pictures, a house, a playroom and a storage space. They made a candle in case he was afraid of the dark, and a blanket, in case the church turned the heat off during the week. They were so involved in making things for George that we actually delayed our snack, and I could barely get them to go home when their parents came. Even better- they were so invovled in making things for George that they shared the glue, didn't say mean things to each other, no one got frustrated, and they patiently waited their turn when they needed my help with a project. They said "please" and "thank you", and they all said good-bye to George when they left. For this group, that was a big deal.
When Saint Francis comissioned his disciples, he told them "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." Our Gospel lesson today was supposed to be about the Mustard Seed, and how something big and wonderful can come from something small and insignificant. I think they got the point.