Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington, M. Div.

During my Seminary years THRU Gordon Road Pastorate, Jasper Williams was the Pastor/Builder of Salem Church in Atlanta.  HE was THE ‘before Mega Church’ term was in view.  HE was the “Teachable Subject” in our Seminary classrooms, he and the late GREAT “William Holmes Borders” Pastor of Wheat Street on Auburn Ave. NEXT DOOR to Ebenezar and the upstart of the “King Center and Memorial”.  I struggled with some things about Rev. Jasper and Salem Church; and as I built my model for Church, I took nothing away from him.

FAST FORWARD to Aretha Franklin’s Funeral. I saw the “Come thru The Fire” Black Preacher. I heard the “Original Atlanta Civil Rights Movement born” Preacher. I was brought to my knees at how Wise and Powerful and BOLD he stood to bring “THIS WORD”… Straight from The Lord… To give direction for the African American Community!

Pretty much most all of the LEADING RELIGIOUS LEADERS in OUR National COMMUNITY of ANY SUBSTANCE, sat on THAT PULPIT Friday. PLEASE, please be mindful of THAT. Many of them spoke of how The “Queen” hand-picked them by putting “her TREASURE” in their ministries. (New for me when Rev. Jasper said that Aretha had a conflict with her Father over getting Angela Davis out of Jail)!  But THIS MISSION of her EULOGY was the Calling of The Rev. Jasper Williams!  No small thing… at all!

The problem is as W. E. Du Bois wrote, “The Souls of Black folks”… living in “two worlds”.

The Message was for “Us”… in building Our “Black Homes” and Our “Black National Life”… OUR “Black WORLD”, but we have decided to view it and live it from “Their Homes” and “Their National Life”… “THEIR WORLD”.  By the time he said “it’s time for Black folks to come Home” not only had I been brought to my knees, I am even now… in tears.  As the battle raged in assault upon the “Queen of Soul’s Eulogy” I continued in my thinking.

Your DEFENSE IS what we have developed sitting at the “All White/Other World” Tables as we who are the “Talented Tenth” FIGHT and “Speak” to these “National Systems” that have ONLY and ALWAYS throughout our ENTIRE HISTORY as a Race in this nation, has sought to destroy us. Only when we learn to “negotiate THEIR systems” as INDIVIDUALS do we find success… Even then to look around us to find ourselves as the “Only Black” in that sphere of life.

90% of my Family HAVE NOT and cannot graduate High School.  We are mindful of The Poverty levels of Black America and the Drug Infested, Mass Incarceration issues that RULE poverty.  As a Woman, I too was in complete denial of the “Only a Man can make a man” statement years ago when I first heard it.  NOW, I see TRUTH in it.  Now, I enter that dialogue at QUALITY, because a WHOLE LOT of men that I meet, I would NEVER want a son to be… like him.  But then that takes us into the same TRUTH of the Black Man’s STRUGGLES to BE A MAN in THIS nation.

Only saying that, the message IS NOT for “Their ears” but for ours… the DEBATE is required not in “Their House”… but OURS.  So Powerful when he said, “at least in Segregation we were forced to have our own Economy, we had our own Businesses. Now” he said “We have lost our Economy… We have Lost our Soul.”

I bless God for you Rev. Jasper Williams, in YOUR CALLING to deliver, (next to Dr. King), The Largest and Longest Service “Eulogy” in the History of “BLACK FOLK”. You stood so BOLDLY in your Task of Giving “New Life” Direction for Black America in “Choosing This Day… WHICH SOUL we will HAVE… But, NO LONGER TWO!”  I thank you for helping me to FIND MY SOUL!  WELL DONE!

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