Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington, M. Div.

In the ‘articulation of faith’ process, one must come to terms with ‘word’.  (‘Word’ as I prematurely refer to the familiar ‘New Genesis’ as John’s Gospel proclaims in Chapter 1, verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word…”; but far to early here to take this leap of faith).  And so I enter the text first, at Matthew’s use of ‘logos/word’.

Young’s Concordance identifies 14 uses of ‘logos’ in Matthew’s Gospel that upon closer look definitively places ‘word’ within the context of faith.  First, the reference to the ‘logos of Jesus’ and it’s power for healing; separate even from his presence— but only by ‘His Word’.  The Centurion said, (8:8), you (Jesus) don’t have to come to my house where my sick servant is, just speak a word of healing….  But he was not the only one who knew about the power of ‘Jesus’ logos’, for Matthew’s 2nd use (8:16) records that many brought their demon possessed loved ones, and by ‘His Logos’…  By Matthew’s 3rd use of Word, it is now in reference to the ‘Disciple’s logos’ (10:14) when Jesus admonished them that if their ‘logos’ is not received, shake the dust off and move on to the next town.

There is a natural tendency to put a definite article with ‘word’.  Look first at ‘word’ in it’s singular form and it’s importance to the life of faith.  It is the ‘unarticulated life’— (most normally the childhood, adolescence to youth) who allows the use of ‘words’ to provoke violence.  One word is spoken.  The response to that word is spoken.  A series of words are exchanged (most often of the expletive ‘4 letter’ kind) resulting in an eruption of violence.  The wisdom saying evolved— “it is not what you are called, it is what you answer to!”  You give power or render powerless ‘words’.

I recall a class discussion in Seminary from the course “Mission of The Church” when Professor George Thomas stated that “there is only one word that has power to move one to immediate action— the word: GOD.  In my persuasion of this, I have very deliberately grown towards hearing a persons ‘word association’ before processing it’s meaning— good, bad or indifferent to my word.  An ‘articulated life’ can most readily receive another’s ‘word’, AND say, “it doesn’t mean that for me!”  I cannot, must not invalidate your ‘word’ in order to give validity to mine.  “If your word/logos is not received”, Jesus says, not an eruption of violence, “kick the dust off your feet, and move on to the next town!”

Even in the Church’s Sunday School and Bible Study classes, (many of which have a hovering threat of violence in any given session,) one’s word is under attack— all while present here in this setting is One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism!

It is no small thing that ‘logos/word’ is compounded with most every area of life to give definition to how and what we learn to think.  Bio-logos, biology, my word, my study, my thinking is in terms of the physical human life, even to be distinguished from zoo-logy.  My word could be Psyche-logos, cardio- logos; thanatology; even eulogy.

If I see, talk, think in terms of disease causation and treatment, my word would be aetiology.  Anthropology; astrology.  Demonology threatens the very infrastructure of Christianity.  Cynology— doghood, dogkind; dentrology— treehood, treekind.  Musicology; mythology; Christology.  A list so long that persons are dedicating life study to compilations of logies as a discipline in and of itself.  My personal list currently includes 192 logy disciplines that I believe to be crucial knowledge in my understanding and ‘articulation of faith─my Theology!’  It is true: “God Specializes!”

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