Rev.  Jan Bihl
Slideshow image

"Mental Health is a dedication to reality at all costs." M. Scott Peck

Is that true? I think so...as long as “reality” includes all dimensions of life. 

These days many are exhausted from continued uncertainty and often struggle to maintain good mental health. That seems to be a reality when I talk with colleagues and friends. 

In just such a time as this, practices of worship, prayer, spiritual friendship in faith community are our Christian faith heritage reality.  But our faith is not a panacea or wishful-thinking, as some believe. Faith faces the stark facts - a dedication to the reality of what is going on in the world around us at all costs -  woven with the reality of trust that God has been this way before and whether the pandemic is nearly over or will continue for some time yet, is not the main focus. Faith is not about  “as soon as this is over” or “when we get to the next step forward.”  

Rather, faith is about living each day, connecting to the Holy One we call Creator, Word, and Holy Spirit. Here is where we find the assurance that we are loved and valued; here is where we receive guidance, correction, and wisdom for the day’s reality as it is. In faith/spiritual community we learn to support one another in this relationship with God...in reality.  We are not alone. Thanks be to God!

Research indicates there is a growing movement to support good mental health around the world today and the church is part of that movement. For instance, Sanctuary Ministries, located in Vancouver and online, offers studies and coaching on faith and mental health.  Many churches are beginning to increase awareness and provide support for this from a faith perspective and with learning events and resources. For instance, Inlet United Church will be including mental health and wellness programming as one of their major ministries, so watch for information on that in the next months. Also, the United Church of Canada has developed a list of resources and also declared a week of mental health awareness. Here is the link:  Mental Health Awareness

            But wellness includes every area of our being: heart, soul, mind, body, relationships. Jesus’ greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbour as ourself.  He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower his disciples of all times and places to love in his name, equipped through regular spiritual practices of worship, prayer, interacting with scripture, learning and growing together in faith, service, spiritual friendships, and giving. In this way, we are equipped to deepen our relationship with the Trinity and with one another; we are equipped to accompany others in living this love that integrates all parts of our being  with a greater purpose. 

            I believe that mental health and wellness is the commitment to THIS fuller reality...at all costs. 

            Grace and Peace.
            Rev. Jan