As I write this the Bearsden Festival is drawing to a close and what a wonderful festival it was. The community coming together to celebrate life and promote good mental health, from the youngest at play to the more elderly being entertained in the local nursing homes. From singing to talks and discussions; from food to crafts; from yoga to lego; from sewing in silence to music concerts; from walking around Bearsden to cycling round the park; mosaics, cafes, drop in sessions, poetry reading, plays, the list goes on and on.
Thank you to those who of you who have helped with making this festival happen in any way, especially those who helped with the Positivity Cafe at All Saints on Saturday 18th May, and those who came along and supported the Festival and the community by attending events.
Of course for the Christian a big part of our mental health comes from our relationship with God, we tend to think of this mostly during Lent when we have a whole season to look at our relationship with God, fixing those things which are amiss, however, the churches year is littered with festivals which encourage us to reassess our relationship with God.
This year we celebrate Pentecost on 9th June, the day the church remembers the Holy Spirit descending on the new church as they gathered together. This was a pivotal event in the life of the early church, giving them the strength and confidence to be more public in their confession that Jesus had been raised from the dead, that God had sent Jesus to offer new life to all people, that God wanted all people to know that their lives were precious and live in peace and harmony. The Holy Spirit prior to this had been seen as something only certain people had in their lives, maybe only for a season while they accomplished a particular task, but from this point it was understood very differently. The Holy Spirit brought a new way of living, one of personal responsibility for actions. No longer should someone turn to the law and use that as justification for past actions, rather they should listen to the Spirit’s guiding before acting and ensure that their actions and words were touched and influenced by God’s love before embarking on them.
Good mental health, good spiritual health, good general health, comes easiest when our lives are lived in such a way as avoids damage being done in the first place. Pentecost is a time when we can remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is here, here to guide and help, not only after the effect but also before we even begin on anything. This is an ancient prayer for the Holy Spirit to come and bless us as individuals and as a church.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created; and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.