I began writing an article giving tribute to the late great Walter Hawkins. Walter Hawkins passed on July 11, 2010 in his home with his family by his side. He died of pancreatic cancer.
For some reason my computer crashed just as I was about to hit enter and publish the article. You know, I know not to draft my articles in templates provided online, however, sometimes I do this without thinking. Therefore, when the article info was gone, it was gone. I had no other saved version. As a writer, you become frustrated when you have worked hard to pull words together in a format you feel will embrace the reader making them want more and more. In addition, when the words are gone, you really cannot bring them back in the same fashion as the original version. Therefore, you sometimes just trash the idea and begin on another article topic. I just said, “That’s it.” I am not writing about Walter Hawkins.”
Then, I was convicted. You know the Lord has a way of telling you when you are doing something wrong or even when He wants you to go forward with something. I asked Him to do this years ago. I asked Him to chastise me if I was wrong. I have asked Him to stay on me like white on rice and make me do the right thing. I asked Him to make me change anything that I was doing that would not honor and glorify Him first. Therefore, He does.
When the crash happened right at the time of this article, which I felt, was worded just right and was a great article, I began to think about the fact that I gave Walter Hawkins all the credit. I did not give Walter Hawkins what he deserved and had worked so hard to demonstrate during his life. I forgot that the reason Walter was where he was and doing what he did was because He loved the Lord and in his work, he wanted to glorify God. Walter Hawkins did not want to glorify himself. His work here on earth was to glorify God and bring souls to Him.
You see, Walter Hawkins dedicated forty-two years of his life to God. At the age of 19, Walter along with his brother created and wrote songs that made me fall down on my knees in honor and glory of God. Before hearing “Oh Happy Day”, I lived a life founded on a love of the Lord but not grounded in the love of the Lord.
My mother was a strong force in our family. She was a very God fearing, yet God loving woman. She lived a life above reproach. She wanted her children to grow up loving the Lord and so she made us stay in church.
We were in church the majority of our young lives from Sunday through Saturday each week. We began our week in church on Sunday morning through Saturday night. Coming up for air only to go to school, to sleep and to take care of a few chores around the house.
On Saturday, we went to choir rehearsals. We were in church the majority of our lives. When I became a teenager (16), I started looking at males because all of a sudden I realized they were looking at me in a different way. I also began to enjoy and love songs by groups such as The Temptations, The Supremes, The Hollies, Edison Lighthouse and the list goes on.
Then, in 1969, I listened as a song so profound in the Lord was played across the airway. I remember as the DJ announced that the song was traditionally classified as a gospel and was a gospel, but he felt the need to play the song on his show that day. The song was “Oh Happy Day.” Two brothers, Edwin and Walter Hawkins modified Oh Happy Day from the traditional version to a unique version.
Listen to “Oh Happy Day” here!
The Hawkins version of “Oh Happy Day” made you want to jump, scream and shout in praise, honor and to glorify God. I began to feel the spirit rising up from deep within as I listened to the words.
You know, the Lord tells us to “Enter His gates with thanksgiving: go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. : Psalms 100:4. This means that before doing anything else, when we want to hear from Him, we must firs thank Him for everything and anything. Then after thanking Him, we must begin to praise Him. You see we were created to praise Him. Not ourselves! We must give all the honor, glory, thanks and praise for everything to God. The Hawkins brother’s version of ‘Oh Happy Day” spoke to my spirit. My soul cried out in honor of God. From that day, I began to understand the need to praise Him before I enter His court. I began to understand that He deserved my thanks, praise and glory before I did anything else.
Praise is what we all should do. Walter Hawkins realized this and used his God given talent to praise God and help others to understand how to praise God. The world lost an amazing soul on July 11, 2010. Heaven was missing an angel who has now gone on to be with the Lord and rewarded for his work here on earth.
Edwin Hawkins “Oh Happy Day”