A bitter river, a heavenly light


“Arise, shine, for your light has come. . .” — Isaiah 60:1

I saw the glorious, large moon as I drove home on County Line Road. I called Mike to describe it. He was driving in Georgia and was seeing it as well. We raved about the beauty of the heavenly light.  

Recent celestial events have captured our imagination — the largest full moon in years, the radiant appearance of Venus and Mars near the moon. This is the season of light. The light shines in darkness!We continue the journey toward the light in 2009. I hope you will join me for a day in Shubuta as we remember bitter darkness in order to live in the light, in the fullness of God's reconciliation and peace. We will gather on Jan. 22 at New Mount Zion  United Methodist Church at 10 a.m. to remember what is impossible to forget.   In 1918, four African-American teenagers were lynched and hung from the bridge over the Chickasawhay River in Shubuta. This violence was repeated in 1946: Two more teenagers suffered the same death. Ninety years after 1918, we remember. Langston Hughes wrote a poem, The Bitter River, in memory of those who died. 

“. . .O water of the bitter river
“with your taste of blood and clay,
“You reflect no stars by night,
“no sun by day. . .”

 The past is with us always, spoken or unspoken. As we hold our past toward the light of God, it — and we — can be illuminated, transformed.

“O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
“westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.”

With hope for our life together in this near year,