In the movie Places in the Heart, Moses Hadnot is a drifter who has heroically oversees Edna Spalding’s farm through the planting and harvesting of a cotton crop during the Depression. Shortly after the cotton is taken to the gin, members of the Ku Klux Klan pay him a visit and he is badly beaten. The attack leaves him on his knees weeping. But his tears are about more than the physical pain that has been inflicted upon him; they are about the rejection he has experienced as a man. Because his skin is a different color, he is being forced out of the community he has worked so hard to be a part of. Because of the hate and murder others have in their hearts, he must return to wandering.
When Edna Spalding learns what has happened she comes out to the shed where Moses stays. \As he is preparing to leave, he gives her gifts—a doll he has made for Edna’s daughter, a rabbit’s foot for her son, and his mother’s handkerchief for Edna. “Well,” he says, “I reckon I got a bit more attached to this place than I intended to.” He shakes her hand and tells her he will miss her and starts to leave. She stops him when he gets to the door and tells him that he should never forget what he has done. “You took a no account piece of land and a bunch of people that didn’t know what they were doing and you farmed that land better than anybody could – colored or white. . . Don’t you ever forget that. ” Moses replies, “Yes ma’am. Reckon I did that. Reckon I did.”
Edna’s gift to Moses was not tangible like the gifts he gave to her but it was priceless. She gave to him what the KKK tried to take away, his status as a man. He knew that no matter what the world’s verdict, he was a part of the community. He knew he belonged and it was real. No one could take that away.
We’re all in need of the same thing as Moses Hadnot, aren’t we? We need a place to belong. We need a place where we know we’re accepted and can make a contribution. That place is the body of Christ. Satan is the hate monger who seeks to keep us from community. His strategy has always been to isolate and conquer because he understands what many people don’t—God made us in such a way that we are stronger when we stand together than when we live as isolated individuals. He made us for community!