Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
To Read: (from the Pilot Episode)
EMMA (Guidance Counsellor): I want to show you something. I did a little research… and this is a tape I found in the library of the ’93 team at nationals. [Inter-High School Championship]
[EMMA plays the tape for WILL.]
EMMA: Do you know who that is? That’s you, Will. That’s you happier than I’ve ever seen you.
WILL (Choir Director): That was the greatest moment of my life.
WILL: Because I loved what I was doing. I knew before we were halfway through with that number that we were going to win. Being a part of that, in that moment, I knew who I was in the world. And the only time I’ve felt that way since then was when Terri told me I was going to be a father. No. No, I need to provide for my family.
EMMA: But provide what exactly? The understanding that money is the most important thing? Or the idea that the only life worth living is one that you’re really passionate about?
[WILL is walking away when he hears music from the auditorium. The New Directions perform Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”. WILL watches them perform. SUE, QUINN, and SANTANA watch from the rafters. PUCK from one of the exits. When they’re done, WILL claps.]
WILL: Good, guys. It’s a nine. We need a ten. Rachel, you need to hit the ones and the fives. Finn, I think if we worked on it, you could hit a high “B.”
FINN: So does this mean you’re staying?
WILL: It would kill me to see you win nationals without me. From the top.
“Don’t Stop Believin’ – Sung by New Directions.
Original Artist: Journey
From the Scriptures:
…they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ 23 Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able! – All things can be done for the one who believes.’ 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You spirit that keep this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!’ 26 After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. (Mark 9v20-27)
All beginnings are fragile, tentative and as much full of fear and doubt as hope and faith.
The New Directions choir began with the rump of the old choir being ‘slushied’ and ‘egged’ by the In-Crowd of William McKinley High.
Will Schuester, the Choir Director, was tempted to not continue as he needed a higher salary to support a growing family. Sue Sylvester, Cheerleading Coach extraordinaire, was determined to see the choir fail. Quinn and Santana were staying aloof from the choir and Puck just sneered. They did not stand a chance!
Then two things happened. Music from the past was played and a song about the future was sung and the phrase ‘Don’t stop believing’ became the heartbeat of their lives.
The whole world stands at the beginning of this Lent balanced between fear and doubt on the one hand and hope and faith on the other. Since we last gathered together to remind ourselves of our frailty – Dust you are and to dust you shall return – and committed ourselves to the journey to the dawn of Easter – Turn away from sin and believe the Good News – humanity has been wracked by two pandemics. One caused by a virus and the other by our self-centredness. It is to be hoped that the pandemic caused by the virus is beginning to wane although the journey remains full of much pain and grief. The pandemic of our self-centredness, that saw a barrage of blame-giving, excuse-making, and truth-twisting, seems to have become endemic.
Woe is us! We know our need of healing but we do not seem to have a sufficient faith to hold on to any hope.
Our Beloved deals with us just as he dealt with the pleading father who has not the strength to believe. Jesus turns his weakness into strength, his unbelief into faith, and his hurt into healing.
It may be that we start this Lent wearied and worn down, bereft, broken and with less belief than when we are at our best. Fear not, after all as Nadia Bolz-Weber reminds us, God works best with nothing.
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
(Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude)
- Send an anonymous message of encouragement to someone – preferably someone from whom you are estranged.
- Offer whatever you find within yourself that you feel is too small to be of any worth and allow God to cherish that which you may have neglected.
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yy6pmsQ9H8
Prayers from ‘Prayers for Hard Times’ are copyright © Becca Anderson 2017
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Transcripts of Glee Episodes were made with thanks to gleetranscripts.tumblr.com
These Reflections, ‘ ‘Gospel According to Glee’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2021 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged