October 10th marks World Mental Health Day.
This is an opportunity for us to talk about something that has, in times past, been an uncomfortable topic of conversation: Mental Health.
Mental health is something that affects us all; because we all have a mind, and all experience the ups and downs and strengths and challenges of mental health. Just as our physical health goes up and down throughout our lives, so the same is true of our mental health.
In the gospels Jesus said that the greatest commandment is this: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”.
This is one of Jesus’ most famous pieces of teaching.
Many of us know it as the ‘Golden Rule’ and try to live our lives by it. Christians believe that Jesus lived this teaching perfectly for us, and offers to share with us the reward of his perfect life. This teaching, of course, wasn’t unique to Jesus. Jesus was restating something that we find in what Christians call the Old Testament.
One of the many interesting things about this phrase is the recognition that people are complex creatures.
Jesus, as well as the prophets of old, encourages us to think of ourselves as whole people; but who are made up of heart, soul, mind, and strength. Just as we need to care for our physical self -our strength- and our spiritual self -our soul-, so we should care also for our psychological self -our mind- and empowered by God, extend that care to others.
As we go forward from World Mental Health Day, let us offer our whole self, heart and mind and soul and strength, to God; to the praise of his name, and the care of his people.