Like most of you, I watched with some interest the coverage of Whitney Houston’s passing. In case you’ve just crawled out from under a rock, one of the defining pop voices of our time died last week in, probably, what we’ll eventually learn was a substance abuse oriented demise. She had a vocal talent that transcended race, age group, or musical taste. In other words, who didn’t like Whitney Houston's beautiful voice? Her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl in 1991, as our nation was engaged in the first Gulf War, is still considered the standard by which all national anthem performances are judged. I’ve posted a linked to it below. If you’re American and don’t get a little goosepimply watching it, better check your pulse.
Yes, as a performer, Houston was in a class of her own. But my interest in the coverage of her death was from a spiritual standpoint. And once again, the world took a popular figure and decided that the gates of heaven swung wide open due to her enormous contribution to society. One eulogizer at her funeral stated, "Everyone in heaven, including God, is waiting. And I just know you're going to raise the roof like no one else has done before "
Really? God is waiting to hear a Whitney Houston concert in heaven? I bet He has good seats. Maybe Amy Winehouse opens for her, and Michael Jackson will make a special cameo appearance...
I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead. That isn’t my point at all. There were other eulogies given at Houston’s funeral, but one delivered by movie maker and actor Tyler Perry caught my ear the most. Perry said:
"Grace is what carried her. Grace is what kept on carrying her all the way through. She was not even supposed to speak because of a childhood incident. However, she went on to sing to the top of the charts; singing before presidents. That same grace carried her home."
Grace. Perry was referring to Ephesians 2:8 which states,
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"
Whitney Houston sang her way into our hearts, but she was a sinner, like the rest of us...saved only through the Grace of Almighty God by sending Jesus to die on Calvary’s Cross for payment of her sin...and mine...and yours.
Tyler Perry said he was reminded of a scripture by Paul in Romans:
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
While I’m of the belief that this scripture, along with others, tells me our salvation can never be lost, I realize that some hold different viewpoints. Respectful of that, we can all agree that we can not move ourselves one inch closer to heaven through our good deeds...or our wonderful talents.
I do look forward to hearing Whitney Houston sing in a heavenly choir one day. Maybe, we’ll all join her as we look to Jesus and sing, "I Will Always Love You."
Whitney Houston’s Star Spangled Banner performance:
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