A Tribute to an Unlikely Prophet…Makes me wanna holla, throw up both my hands!

A Tribute to an Unlikely Prophet…Makes me wanna holla, throw up both my hands!

I always knew that Marvin Gaye’s single, “What’s Going On” and the album by the same name was timely and timeless, still relevant to us after all these years.  But as I watched a documentary about it, and heard someone call it prophetic, I became aware of that dimension.  For truly what Marvin was telling us spoke of the same issues that we wrestle with today.

Turns out he had been in “exile” following the death of Tammie Terrell; but the tales his brother told him of the Vietnam experience, coupled with the anguish of our people caught in the throes of racism made him feel like he had to respond.  Smokey Robinson says he told him, as he composed song after song, that “God is writing this album”.  And truly, when you listen to the words of those songs, you feel a peculiar anointing on them  that is angelic.

Whether it’s police brutality, the ravages of war, climate change, PTSD, poverty, or coming together as one Wholey Holy, it is without question the soundtrack of our lives.  He pleads, “don’t punish me with brutality”, but rather “talk to me so we can see What’s Going ON”.  Who really cares, he asks.  Who is willing to try? To save a world that is destined to die? Crime is increasing; trigger happy policemen.  Makes me wanna holla, throw up both my hands! Whew!  Throughout the whole rendering, he puts his finger on the pulse of our existence; and makes us recognize its ills as we are drawn to the beauty of his presentation.

It saddens me to think of the depression that finally led to his tragic demise.  But I know that God uses who He pleases to say what He wants us to hear.  A message like the one we heard and continue to listen to by way of the genius of Marvin Gaye is nothing less than prophetic.

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