Faith of a Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods-Washington

“Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him who was sick and at the point of death.” (Luke 7:2). In my small modern slave descendant mind the question arises for me as to why Throckmorton parallel’s this text twice with two different titles? First, ‘The Centurion’s Servant’ paralleled with Matthew; and second, ‘The Centurion’s Slave’ with no parallel as a Lucan single tradition. Something in ‘the cotton’ in this very rare translation of ‘o pais mou’ for a look at the Greek text would definitively suggest the titles ‘The Centurion’s Son’ or ‘The Centurion’s Boy’.

First a look at the variations. Where Matthew has recorded that the centurion has a personal ‘one on one’ encounter with Jesus saying, “my servant is lying paralyzed and in distress”; Luke’s des-cripion of the slave’s condition is a narrative of a sickness that is ‘unto death’. In addition, Luke gives no indication that the centurion ever has a ‘face to face’ encounter with Jesus. He first sent Elders of the Jews to speak on his behalf and ask Jesus to come and heal his slave. As Jesus approaches the house, the centurion sent friends out to meet him. Whereas the substance of the dialogue is the same— in Matthew, it is directly from the centurion, present and 1st person, or in Luke through the centurion’s ‘peeps’, the Elders and friends, in 3rd person— Jesus see (feels) (knows) unmatchless faith: “not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

What for most New Testament Theologians would ‘not matter’ here, ‘matters’ to me as this text has brought me to a place of critical observation— a ‘thorn in my flesh’. The CENTURION’S SLAVE SON (or daughter)! The centurion’s servant boy (or girl)!

I have been doing genealogical research for more than twenty-five years. With no known interracial marriages in the five generational blood line that I have traced back to Magby slave owner-ship in Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia, I am still unable to account for the ‘whiteness’ of my family’s skin, with some of my great and great great grand nieces and nephews being born ‘white as cotton’? America has asked us ‘to forget about’ the centurion’s (the master) decreeing himself the right to go in and out of our mother’s most private life ‘depositing seeds’ that he would ‘own’ but never ‘give kinship’. Whom he would ‘capitalize on’ but never ‘be familial’.

America wants to ‘label’, ‘rebuke’ and ‘shun’ the ‘mad black woman’ with no accountability for it’s birthing of the ‘mad black woman’! Now they say ‘get over it’! How do you get over an ‘absentee father’ who IS A CENTURION?

by email: mustardseedfaith@outlook.com