“…the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.” ~Luke 1:78-79
I’ve struggled with a lot of shame throughout life. However, in the last month or so, as I have finally put a name to one aspect of that shame, my interaction with that part of myself has changed. I am working to love myself as God loves with his infinite love, though this is easier said than done.
The sermon this morning was on mercy and how the love of God frees us from chains. One line in particular spoke to my feelings of shame, frustration, and sorrow: “God incarnate is not a concept, but a commitment to the human experience and all its fullness. God comes for our whole relational, spiritual, emotional, creative, intellectual, and physical selves. There is no hidden feeling of shame God’s mercy doesn’t want to touch. No regret, no sorrow, no sin named by you or by others who think they know best.”
This morning’s church service and the study afterwards were very meaningful to me. For the past month and a half, the adult Sunday school at my church has been working through Mennonite Church Canada’s “Being a Faithful Church” process, which is a series of conversations leading to a decision on an official stance on LGBTQ+ members and the church. Most of the people in my church are very affirming, though there are voices on all sides.
During the Sunday school conversation, my pastor (who I’ve been able to tell is affirming, but I wanted to test the waters a bit more) lay everything out. After addressing congregational concerns, she proposed that we draft a specific statement of affirmation—that all are welcome, so that no one has to wonder whether they are. Again, the response was mostly positive. Praise God! I pray that the church would be able to feel God guiding our feet in the way of peace as the discernment process progresses.
After hearing how she responded to people’s concerns and facillitated the conversations, I have asked my pastor to set up a meeting. I’ve decided to come out to her, as I am really in need of some guidance and in-person support. All-in-all, it has been a blessed day.
The title of this post comes from this taizé hymn: “Our darkness is never darkness in Your sight. The deepest night is clear as the daylight.” God loves us so much! This time of trial will eventually pass; His love remains forever. In His light, our sorrow can become joy; our shame, love.
You can listen to it here.