“I Will Always Love You:” Whitney Houston, Earth Angel

February 18, 2012 by  

Whitney Houston never forgot how to look to The Lord.

It is clear to me that our arts and skills are offshoots of The Creator's power. For that reason when I am awed by a display of talent in any form, I tend to receive it as a prayer, a reminder that there is someone greater than our selves just out of sight. That feeling of sacred awe is intensified when the person at "center-stage" also recognizes Divine Source, The Lord of Creation. When they do I experience an electrical connection between us, even if the person is not unaware of my existence. That person or performer becomes part of my spiritual support, one of my earth angels. An earth angel is an instrument of God, consciously or unconsciously. Whitney Houston was such a soul. The first time I heard her sing her voice went all the way through me, reaching a dimension of sound, hitherto, untouched. Whitney had a voice blessed by Heaven and a fresh-faced beautiful spirit that not only refreshed the music industry but opened new doors in Hollywood film. Her starring role in The Bodyguard quickly became a classic to me. The music, that face, those sparkling eyes were unforgettable. Whitney flew high, and she took us with her.

In a few hours of this writing, Whitney Houston will be laid to rest at her home church in New Jersey, New Hope Baptist. The live service is being played in the background on CNN as I write these lines. Whitney traveled a long way since being the little girl who sang in the choir. Some would say she fell from grace but they would be wrong. The eyes of flesh do not see as God sees. Human beings fail. God understood that so well that he made provisions to restore and lift us up again when we could not do it ouselves. Man looks and judges but they do not understand how Spirit works invisibly but effectively to forgive, cleanse and heal a soul from the inside, even if the eyes of our fellowman do not recognize it. When one knows The Lord, even that person can fall but to the glory of God they do not fall out of his grace but into it. Human beings tend to abandon those they claim to love when they slip into troubles but it is at that critical moment that God draws nearer.

The Chinese have a saying about TAO. "Men love The Tao (The Way) beause it forgives you when you sin."

When Whitney was at the top of the charts she was loved by her fans. During her attempt to rise from the ashes of her troubles and ascend to the glory clouds again some of those same fans walked out of her concerts because she was not the same as they remembered her. They could not bring themselves to root for her to "tarry" with her for one day. Such is the way of man. Now she is gone ... the praise comes again. Of course some that, perhaps most of it is sincere but we need to remember that our heroes, our stars are just human beings, like ourselves. They hurt, they get hurt, they are fallible .. and yet, they can give in extraordinary ways, gifts to raise up our spirit. For that they are special. For that should they be respected and honored, for they are special vessels of The Good.

When Whitney sang, "I Look to You," on her 2009, so called, comeback album, I knew she was singing to The Lord. I understood this also when she sang, "He's all the Man I Need." I knew that no man of flesh and blood could meet the criteria of the song. Christians know the teachings "Be in the world but not of the world." No matter how spiritual a person may be their body remains in the world. It is subject to cold, heat, hunger, disease and the temptations. There will be times when the pull of the flesh will win. Contradictions are so inherent in our condition that The Scriptures says, "The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." We need to learn how to celebrate the good we recognize in each other. Wouldn't it be better if we inter the bad with the bones, and not the other way around. I am always saddened at how hard the media works to "expose" a person we admire when they pass from us. We really do not need this. We have only to look at our own private lives to know we cannot sustain our public persona indefinitely.

I celebrate the life of Whitney Houston as a metaphor for all the musicians who enriched our lives and continue to do with their marvelous gifts. Not all will reach her level of fame, nor sense her depth of pain but they give from their souls, nonetheless. When we give so much we can drain our life-force, so we need to refuel. If you listen with your ears and feel with your spirit, you knew that Whitney Houston often sang to a higher dimension. In her eyes I could see that light and knew she could never forget the one who touched her spirit in church so many years ago. He was always there, in the background sometimes, in the foreground at other times. For most of us, Whitney remains what Oprah Winfrey called "The Voice." She delivered over and over again, and now The Lord has delivered her into his presence. He left us indelible memories. I acknowledge the commercial support that permits the showing of these videos.

I look to You was a fitting swan song,final message, for witness. It appears that her spirit understood that it would be her final anthem. This performance in Germany points to her universal appeal.

Love is forever. We abide in only temporary housing. It is wise to reach beyond it, to look to God always.

The eulogy was preached by Pastor Marvin Winans. The Winnans, the family Gospel group left this message-song that is well-worth meditating on. Be careful of waiting for tomorrow what you should do today.


Love, Kitabu Roshi


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