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Faith of a mustard seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

“The justice of God through faith… to be received by faith… it was to prove at the present time that he himself is just and that he justifies him who has faith.” ‘The Thesis’ statement of Romans; Chapter 3.

The righteousness of God through faith. The justice of God through faith. There is no getting over this theme of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. All total, it is concerning justice; and how ‘The Justice of God’ comes now completely disassociated with law.

The discussion was raised in theological circles as to the ‘opening of the Canon of New Testament Scripture’. We realize that Revelations has not completed the Acts and Works of God; so that in our time, some have suggested that Martin Luther King, Jr’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ could be included. “I will never forget that one morning, I think the next morning after I was placed in the cell in solitary confinement, a newspaper was slipped in to me. I turned it over and found a kind of advertisement that had been placed there, taken out by eight clergymen of all of the major religious faiths in our nation. They were criticizing our demonstrations. They were calling us extremists. They were calling us law breakers and believers in anarchy and all of these things and when I read it, I became so concerned and even upset and at points so righteously indignant that I decided to answer the letter.”

Writing on April 16, 1963— 4 months before the ‘March On Washington’ he continues: “My Dear Fellow Clergymen… I am in Birmingham because injustice is here… You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham but your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstration… Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. It’s ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard brutal facts of the case.”

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed… For years now I have heard the word “Wait!”… We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

“You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the supreme courts decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break the laws… The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of Laws: just and unjust I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Note to self: this is ‘No Dream!’ MLKjr, at the time of this writing from ‘Birmingham Jail’ was both— AWAKE and ALIVE! And yet, the ‘nightmare’ continues: peaceful demonstrators being jailed as we speak, all while there is a constant failure ‘to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstration’???

The ‘Bell of JUSTICE’ rings loud and clear concerning Paul’s thesis in Romans. MLKjr’s underSTANDING— ‘STANDING his Ground’ upon JUSTICE in a long and powerful biblical tradition from the prophets of old as Paul says ‘gives witness’— “But now the Justice of God has been manifested apart from law,…”

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Email: mustardseedfaith @bellsouth.net

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