Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington, M. Div.

Third in Mark’s use of ‘faith/pistis’ is a 3rd Triple Tradition— ‘A Woman’s Faith’  which is never separate from ‘Jairus’ Daughter’ because the woman’s encounter with Jesus is while he and Jairus are en route to see Jairus’ daughter.  (Mark 5:21-43).

The variations from Matthew include the fact that Mark has given a far more detailed account than Matthew’s abbreviated form. (Matthew 9:18-26).  Jairus is identified by Mark as a ‘ruler of the synagogue’, and, while Matthew records Jairus saying to Jesus, “my daughter has just died”; Mark records him saying, “my little daughter is at the point of death”.  Subsequently, the petition to Jesus in Matthew is for ‘resurrection’, while in Mark it is for ‘healing from sickness unto death’.

On ‘The Woman’s Faith’ additional variations include Mark’s reporting her great suffering under many physicians— spending all that she had as she was no better but rather grew worse; that she had heard the reports about Jesus; Jesus perceiving that power had gone forth from him; and, where Matthew records Jesus saying to her “take heart, your faith has made you well”, Mark records Jesus saying “daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace, and be healed of your disease”.

It was the practice at Salem for the Associate Pastor to vacation the month of July and the Senior Pastor to vacation the month of August.  I recall my first August Sunday with total worship leadership responsibility.  The largest seating capacity church in Harlem, NYC with a more than 1,000+ worship attendance; a then (1985) paid $30,000 choir to include six paid soloists, some of whom sang on Broadway, with the Minister of Music’s name credited in the movie “A Chorus Line” processing before me— feeling demonic forces inhabiting the sanctuary, it is perhaps the most ‘faint-hearted’ situation of my life.  As I mounted the additional step to the elevated pulpit side of the split chancel, I began by reminding the congregation of my consciousness of the dollars spent on our weekly printing of the bulletin (off to Hunt’s Printing every Thursday)— therefore it’s value; but that today I wanted them to place it inside their Bibles while I deviate from the ‘established order’.  I explained to the church that ‘something is in this house this morning that is not of God’.  I asked that each join the hand of the other and the ‘order of this day is exorcism’.  And when I got through praying, we came up shouting. Nobody doubting!  I felt so clearly the moment during the prayer that ‘Jesus perceived that power had gone forth from him’.  Who touched me?  Who touched me?

The disciples said Lord there’s a whole crowd of people!  Yet, Jesus knew that an insignificant unnamed women came, interrupting, intruding, interfering, intervening in his business with the ruler of the synagogue with faith to access healing power.

The American Church of Black Nation in 2021 is in one of the greatest struggles of it’s existence in the ‘come back’ that is yet to find it’s Way. Will take a mighty faith, not yet seen, to reach  the perception of Christ’s knowing that ‘This Touch’ is required… Here and Now… that shall ignite ‘This Power’!

And peace?  Wish I had the time to talk about the relationship seen here between faith/pistis and peace/eirene.  “Go”, Jesus told the woman of faith, “in peace”!

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