They say that heaven is 10 zillion light years away. And just the pure at heart will walk her righteous streets someday. But if there is a God, we need Him now. “Where is your God?” That’s what my friends ask me. And I say it’s taken Him so long because we’ve got so far to come…
Sing it, Stevie. We feel you!
You might have missed the opportunity to celebrate but a couple of weeks ago was a special day in our history. It was the King’s birthday. Not the King of Pop or the King of Soul. May 13, 2022 was the 72nd birthday of the King of Thought, Stevie Wonder.
You can spend weeks and months surveying and singing all of the incredible music attributed to Stevie. But when I ran across this song, the message in every measure was apropos. These days, it seems like heaven is at least 10 zillion light years away.
Now for those who don’t delve deeply into science, “light years” is not a measurement of time but distance. One light year is equivalent to 10 trillion kilometers.
America shudders at the thought of federal budgets that reach into the trillions. But the distance and deficit between the USA and the “God” we proclaim is the distance that should concern us most.
We may claim to be “One nation under God,” but who could tell. God does not despise the poor, banish the immigrant or threaten the peace and serenity of the planet.
God does not promote hate in speech or deed, and God has to be sick of America provoking his name with nuclear warheads in tow.
How else do you explain the inexplicable series of calamities we suffer? The threat of terrorism has absconded the gift of freedom. And not just the stereo-typical jihadists that we conjure up when the word terrorism is spoken.
We got young racists who visit churches during prayer meetings and kill us. We got a new generation of haters who feel the need to drive 600 miles to El Paso to get rid of them “Mexicans.” Or 240 miles with a manifesto to justify walking into a grocery store to kill Black folks.
Meanwhile, love has yielded its influence to the twin demonic spirits of hatred and loathing.
Our greed and selfishness are annihilating the inheritance of a brilliant biosphere. Five dollar-a-gallon gas may be the only means to quench our unquenchable taste for oil and other potential biological catastrophes. We don’t want electric cars, but we have run out of space to discard dirty oil, tires, batteries, and power plants.
Stevie was on to something in 1974 when he released “Fulfillingness’ First Finale.” All the songs are rich and thought-provoking. But Stevie testifies that when friends who don’t know his God ask about his God, he goes through hell trying to explain his heaven.
Where is God when Christian brothers and preachers align their covenants with Godless men like Donald Trump? How do you reconcile following God and following the imps of Satan?
Where is God when conniving capitalists trade the safety and lives of their coal miners for 30 extra shekels of silver? Where is God when almost 70% of people in Dallas County jails have a verifiable mental issue?
Where is God when children are defiled or left in the wilderness and the ghettos to languish and die? Where is God when Governors like the one in Texas cuts social service safety nets?
Stevie is in a conundrum; because he has the extraordinary assignment of describing a universal God whom we believe favors America to the detriment of all others.
Even at age 72, Stevie is in a quandary to extol the rich virtues of greedy, grafting, hedonistic, and hateful people. “American Exceptionalism” is both a misnomer and a twisted concept!
Stevie finally exposes that he had to look within to find love. He ended with a personal revelation.
“But if you open your heart, you can feel it, Feel His spirit. I opened my heart one morning, and I sho’ nuff could feel it ; feel his spirit..!”
Happy Birthday, Stevland Hardaway Morris!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.