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Faith of A Mustard Seed  

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

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live” (Romans 1:16-17).  ‘Faith’ occurs Four Times in this 2 verse passage of Paul’s Letter: To The Romans.

After 45+ years of preaching ministry, I have come to know the personal difficulties of ‘unashamed proclamation’.  First, there is the fact of ‘The Living Word’ as Gospel being ‘Truth’ with a capital T— ‘His Truth is Marching…’; in spite of our ability or inability to ‘know the Truth’, which in fact —sets Free!  Then, there is sin!  (OK?)  In our times sin is being justified, glorified, and personified.  To be sure, more preachers stand in the holy place of Gospel proclamation calling on satan in a more powerful way than they call on God.  The wages of sin…?  That part!

‘Epaiscunomai/Ashamed’, then, is personal despair.  It has the sense of confoundedness; being disillusioned; it is ‘DIS’grace’. In the religious sense it is the exposure of the soul; baring all consequences.  This word is commonly used as opposite of ‘doza/glory’; here a contrast can be seen as between light and darkness.  Ashamed is a state of being that is brought on by self; it is ‘divine judgement’ based upon one’s own actions or lack thereof; sometimes of actions still hidden.

I am reminded of how often I’ve heard in discussion about how void the content of preaching is.  The average person leaves the Church on Sunday and when asked what did the Preacher say the response is ‘it was good’— nothing more.  I have come to discover that major issues and actions of sinful nature go undisclosed when ‘the messenger’ is participatory.  This ‘ashamedness’ of the Gospel sends the Christian community further and further away from Truth as preaching becomes (what Dr. Clark used to say) “shallow and in the shadows”.  A trajectory that propels us into a world of ‘alternate truth’… by ANY OTHER NAME… Evil!

I recall the NACA Workshops held amidst perhaps the greatest Fraud perpetrated upon the people of this nation now known as the “Foreclosure Crisis” which, by the way yielded the first Black President whose work was in this area at the point of his election.  One of the facilitator broke into the Q&A and proclaimed to a confounded homeowner, “NACA could care less about that… NOBODY CARES!”  After the workshop ended a small group of us lingered on the Church steps sharing our ‘foreclosure battle scars’.  The same facilitator came out the door and in the midst said to me, ‘NOBODY CARES, it’s a reality, Nobody Cares’.

As a clergy woman trained in education concerning the ‘Family Life of the Church’, I must admit that I was unable to see the ‘model’ for the prosperous family; only achievable where men and women make personal commitments —far beyond themselves to the children produced by the Family.  But I bring to this view a very “Up from Slavery” broken family model that, even in the passing of generations of Family Life… the brokeness has yet to find any semblance of Healing.  Void of the ‘caring power’!  Fathers who just plain don’t care for their sons.  Mother’s who serve two masters in that they “love one and hate the other”.

Paul has given a most powerful message in this text— I am not in personal despair, nor am I confounded about the GOOD NEWS that GOD CARES.  I am not disillusioned, nor am I ‘dissed’ in grace— GOD CARES!  I am not in darkness, but see LIGHT (somebody hear me say GLORY) just because I know GOD CARES.

In proclaiming the Good News to a world that has problems with TRUTH and REALITY, here is a ‘for real’ contribution that Paul has made to Christianity— there IS NO SHAME in proclaiming the TRUTH of the Gospel.  Gospel TRUTH CANNOT be ‘hid under a bushel’, for, IT ALONE is God’s saving power.

All inquiries By email: talk2therev@icloud.com “Words of Life Study” Wednesdays on Zoom.  12:00 Noon & 6:30 pm CST Join the Dialogue at my “Swellcast”.  At all times: https://SWELLCAST.com/therev.

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