Hope Again

[Dave McMillan, from southeast Saskatchewan, loves the Advent season!  He and his wife Heather have blessed Glen Elm as guest worship leaders on a number of occasions.]

Today’s reading in Psalm 43:3-6 personifies “light” and “truth” acting as “guides” to the “holy mountain” where we can again “hope in God”.  I need to “hope again”…. and the Advent season is about hoping again.

American black Thomas Moore needed to hope again.

It had been more than 40 years since five Ku-Klux-Klan members had brutally beaten, and then drowned, his brother, Charles Moore, and a friend, Henry Dee, on a dark 1964 Mississippi night. Even with close to a thousand pages of evidence, descriptions from informants, and reported confessions, two clansmen, James Seale and Charles Edwards had the charges against them dismissed.  No one seemed to care.  No one wanted to talk about it.

Hope seemed impossible to Thomas Moore, so he bought a 30-30 rifle and imagined Charles Edward’s death.

Documentary filmmaker David Ridgen and Thomas Moore joined forces to seek justice in the 1964 kidnapping and murder of Moore’s brother, Charles. Photo by Michael Hannan.

But a Canadian, Dave Ridgen with the CBC, helped Thomas return to Mississippi in 2005 and two years later, an ill, 72-year-old, James Seale was convicted of the 1964 murder, and died in prison this past August. Charles Edwards escaped prosecution by testifying against Seale in the trial. He also apologized to the Moore, and Dee, families for his part. The “truth” had come out… and resulted in justice… maybe…, but no “holy mountain”, or “hope” yet.

And then a month ago, Ridgen and Moore again returned to Mississippi, to talk with Charles Edwards, who is now a Baptist Deacon in his all-white church. Six years ago, Edwards had angrily ordered them off his church’s property. But the “guide” called “truth” had taken Edwards someplace in those years, and this time he sat down and talked, describing the terrible 1964 event in detail to Moore. Something inexplicable happened as they talked. Dave Ridgen, who describes himself as a “complete atheist”, said he knew something was happening because he couldn’t stop shaking as he listened.

The following Sunday morning, the murderer, and the hater, sat side-by-side in that all-white Baptist church, and as Thomas Moore said, testified to anyone willing to listen, that you can hope again.

I want my hoping heart to be ready for the “babe of truth in the manger” again this Advent.



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