Service with a Smile

Have you ever seen God in a man? Have you felt the divine in another’s humanity?



At the monastery shop I bought a simple cross.

But came away profoundly affected by his joy –

The brother serving smiled and spoke pleasantries,

But the glow in his soul sparkled without alloy.


There was no heavy lecture or winning sound bite,

No pious preaching or casual cast off blessing,

No deep impression born of lengthy acquaintance,

Yet this man had something that I was sadly lacking.


Learned men argue the toss for and against God,

And opposing ‘ists snipe from their rigid rampart,

And we may never articulate the definitive proof,

But this man knew with the knowledge of the heart.


Until you have basked in unconditional love’s caress;

Until you know that you are most precious to Him;

Until you realise that you are consecrated royal;

You have no idea that you’re existing on the rim.


For life is like a solar system, glorious and vast,

And many of us stay within the feeling hold

Of our own distant world, and the gravity of fear

Keeps us from Him as we orbit out in the cold.


We force a smile, but who is fooled by such an act?

That cloistered smile was, wow, a window so clear,

Allowing God’s own vivifying smile to shine through,

To ravish my heart with its rousing, ineffable cheer.


We strive for riches, status, and what doesn’t last;

Men sacrifice life’s years for paltry, piffling things;

Precious moments ruined by weary concentration

On empty stuff, while joy is given without strings.


That humble monk’s smile rebukes my own false smirk.

His manifest joy admonishes my feeble fearful face.

I bless him for serving up the possibility of God,

To a heedless world so desperately in need of grace.