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Faith of a Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington
Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

 “Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked.  He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “stand upright on your feet.”  And he sprang up and walked.”  (Acts 14:8-10).  Looking now to the 5th occurrence of ‘pistis/faith’ in Acts.

Church Historians could take the time here to indicate the facts of this ‘Paul’s First Missionary Journey’ inclusive of the importance of each location, as we have already seen in the Antioch cities.  But also of Iconium; and Pisidian where, I believe Paul has preached one of his greatest sermons, stirring up persecution and causing their exile from the city; and now Lystra which by the time Barnabas and Paul visit, boasts of having one of the few surviving ‘Bronze Age Languages’— where Paul is stoned, and left for dead.

Most significant for our task at hand is his encounter with the man in Lystra.  Adunatos, used here to describe the condition of this man’s feet has it’s roots in ‘duna’— ‘being able’; ‘having capacity’; with specific reference to spiritual attitude— ‘willed ability’; ‘willed capacity’.  It is most often seen in the form ‘dunamis’— ‘power’; and speaks of ‘one who has an ability’; ‘capability’; ‘competency’; ‘one who has possibility’;  ‘having power’.  The ‘a’ prefixed indicates that this man ‘had no ability’; ‘had no capacity’; ‘ had no power’ in his feet.

I have always had ‘powerful hands’.  With a grandmother who had me to stand in the mirror each morning before First grade and put two cornrows in my hair; to her teaching me to crochet and to knit.  To the sewing and numerous other crafting skills that my mother passed on.  To the woodworking skills that I got from Mr. Shook and Mr. Ladd as a work study student in the Industrial Arts Dept at TSU;  to the leather crafting skills from running Willie’s Leather Booth in the old Atlanta Piedmont Flee Market before going to Seminary.  But it was at the Alter of Salem Church, Harlem NYC in ministry that I came into the gift of ‘receiving power in my hands’.

It is also to Salem that I look in seeing further the ‘Power in the feet’.  Thinking about that day when I returned home to the Parsonage on the 21st floor and the elevators were down.  I thought that day while walking up 21 flights of stairs just how many members of Salem Church were single and even double leg amputees.  The daily Subway rides where it required calculating what entrance to take which could in some Stops determine the number of flights you had to walk to enter or exit. Which section of the train to ride to determine what part or even what Block you were when you exited.  The Transfer Stops, Penn Station and what was the World Trade Center.  I always thought that New York City-ers walked not less that 25 city blocks per day.  The need for ‘Powerful feet’!

This man of Lystra had never received ‘power in his feet’— not from birth.  Paul, in passing saw that he had spiritual attitude— ‘willed ability’; ‘willed capacity’;— ‘powerful feet’!  And to this man he “said in a loud voice, “stand upright on your feet.”  And he sprang up and walked.”

Never to overlook how ‘on time’ God is with His Word, I fell just 3 days ago and fractured my ankle.  My first time ever using crutches.  I spent the last two days laid up dreading having to move for walking on crutches initially proved more painful than they are worth.  Talking with my cousin last night, she said, “you got a chair with wheels?”  I said yes the one at my computer.  She said, “You got a wheel chair!”  Today has been so bright rolling around the house.  And to open the text for today’s study and writing and find myself in the midst of a healing of the feet!

by email: myfathersmansionpress@gmail.com

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