“The Healing Power of Love” (Part 1) – “Under the Shadow of God’s Wings” by the Revd Hannah Cartwright
Like many of my LGBTQI+ siblings, I have spent much of my life in the shadows; belonging neither to the world of extravagant pride in the uniqueness of my embodied personhood, nor to the world of easy acceptance as a person who ‘passes’ for a ‘straight cis-gender woman’.
It has been easier at times for me to hide in the shadows to avoid answering difficult questions. For many, the shadows are associated with being a place of shame, but there are also many examples in the Bible (most notably in the psalms) where the shadow of God is a place of safety, comfort, refuge and rest.
The psalmist in Psalm 63: 7 praises God for being their help, and delights that under the shadow of God’s wing, they can, at last, rejoice.
LGBTQI+ Christians are well aware that living under the shadow of social oppression, the assumptions of others or the unjust expectation to conform to a hetero-normative church and society, can lead to poor mental health, a sense of spiritual desolation and profound hurt. However, to live in the shadow of God’s wing, is to be covered by the shade and protection of the God who, like a mother-hen, gathers her children lovingly into her embrace, shields them and holds them close to her heart.
God has a history of subverting the seemingly desolate places in which we find ourselves and enabling them to instead become places of huge spiritual growth, where faith is both birthed and forged, and in which, we can discover the truth of our God-given personhood; realised most-fully in the embrace of Christ’s love.
My firm hope is that, one day, the only shadow any child of God will ever live under, is the wing of The Almighty. Then will be the day that we can all sing songs of joy.
May the wing of the Loving God bring you strength and protection,
May Their shadow shield you from the heat of injustice;
May Their embrace be your help and comfort in times of need;
May Their delight in you help you see yourself through Their eyes;
May Their faithfulness give you cause to sing for joy;
And may you rest a while in safety as They nestle you close to Their heart.