Lighting the Way

By Amy Johnson
Minister for Sexuality Education and Justice

“The people walking in darkness
Are seeing a brilliant light—
Upon those who dwell in a land of deep shadows
Light is shining!”
Isaiah 9:2

This is one of my favorite pieces of scripture for when I am struggling. It reminds me that though there are times of darkness and deep shadows, God is always shining a light. It may be a flicker or a shimmer or a pinpoint or a brilliant light, but it is always here. God is always here.

Shame and stigma envelop many of us in deep shadows. They work diligently to convince us there is no light left for our souls. No room at the inn of love and acceptance.

For many who are living in the shadows of shame and stigma about who they are and who they love, Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith are truly about a life-giving and light-giving ministry of inclusion, sacredness and wholeness.

But does OWL shine the light even further?

In this YouTube video, Tailar Matthews explains how comprehensive sexuality education can be used to combat some of the negative effects of racism in our society. While it doesn’t end racism, it can help mitigate some of the negative effects people experience due to racism. And not offering comprehensive sexuality education? Well, that doesn’t help at all, and in fact, is harmful to people.

Even though we are living through a time that has felt and can still feel like a great shadow over our work and lives, a pandemic that has cost too many lives and has caused us to physically distance and postpone too many things—even though we are living with a pandemic of racism and divisiveness in our country—we are doing good work by supporting OWL.

The work of Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith is the work of shining a brilliant light. Doing this work helps delineate where those shadows are—to identify them as shadows, so we can all step forward into the light of God, in all our beautiful and sacred diversity.

As we move from winter to spring, as vaccines become more available, and communities move into more openness and connection, as daylight literally grows longer each day, know you are held in light and love.

Be of good faith, beloveds. May we nurture the light, celebrate it, and shine the way forward for one another in solidarity and belief that we are people who shine in the very image of God.