Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 6 – Tuesday after 1st Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 1 Episode 16)
[MERCEDES has been starving herself after the SUE SYLVESTER (the cheerleader’s coach) tells her to lose weight for a photoshoot. She faints in the School Cafeteria and is taken by QUINN to the SCHOOL NURSE]
NURSE: Your blood pressure’s low. Maybe that’s why you fainted. Your mom will be here soon. I’ll go and get you some ginger ale.
[QUINN offers MERCEDES a granola bar]
MERCEDES: Thanks. I’m not hungry.
QUINN: Yes, you are. You’re starving. I know. I’ve been there. Did all the other kids start looking like food right before you fainted?
MERCEDES: Yeah. How’d you know?
QUINN: Been there. Eat the granola bar.
MERCEDES: Why are you being so nice to me? I can’t remember the last time you said two words to me that weren’t “you” and “suck.”
QUINN: ‘Cause I was you – scared. Hating myself for eating a cookie. But I got over it.
MERCEDES: Yeah, of course you did, Miss Pretty Blonde With the White Girl Ass.
QUINN: When you start eating for somebody else… so that they can grow and be healthy… your relationship to food changes. What I realized is that if I’m so willing to eat right to take care of this baby… why am I not willing to do it for myself? You are so lucky. You’ve always been at home in your body. Don’t let Ms. Sylvester take that away from you.
MERCEDES: I’m so embarrassed. This isn’t me. How did I become this person?
QUINN: You are beautiful. You know that. I’m gonna stay here with you
until your mom comes, okay?
‘Beautiful’ sung by Mercedes Jones
Original Artist: Christina Aguilera
From the Scriptures:
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news, who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
(Isaiah 52 v 7-10)
It’s odd how a chance remark can change your life and, thought meant to encourage and heal, bring despair and hope instead.
Lesley-Anne and I were married in Johannesburg and before we went to Seminary used to attend teaching days led by a group of friends in the Highveld Charismatic Renewal. We were part of a Home Group led by Basil and Val, two lovely faithful lay friends and we our faith blossomed in their home. They were overjoyed when we announced that we were going to enter the Church and prayed for us many times before we moved. One night Basil noticed my curly toes peeping out of my sandals and, using Isaiah 52v7 as inspiration, laid hands on my feet for their uncurling. The group was at one in agreeing that when I began to preach the ‘Good News’ then my feet would become ‘beautiful’.
Well… many, many people have seen my toes (they even made the BBC Headlines once) and either,
It was a mistaken prayer
I have not yet managed to preach a good sermon
We read the Bible verse wrong – it’s not about the feet being beautiful but the message they are carrying being good news of peace and salvation.
The Holy Spirit was having a laugh. To be honest I think the Holy Spirit is always having a laugh anyway as I strongly suspect she is an inveterate giggler.
This may seem a small insignificant story but in the years that followed when life was challenging (and apartheid South Africa brought many challenges for a White Vicar who had lived in a Black Township) I often begged the Lord to straighten my toes. Why? Because then I would know I was on the right track and was indeed someone who announced peace, brought Good News, and announced salvation.
Quinn, despite being, ‘Miss Pretty Blonde With the White Girl Ass’ had learnt through her unplanned pregnancy that beauty is indeed more than skin deep. She had learnt the hard way that being truly beautiful involves making friends with the shape of our bodies and the demons of our soul. Vulnerable herself and knowing the error of her own ways she reaches out and with a granola bar feeds the soul of someone whom she used to despise.
If we are fortunate in life we will grow up and flourish in a family and a community that is affirming, accepting and inclusive; the sort of community that the Church is called to be. But more than a few people live lives overflowing with anxiety, shame, and inappropriate guilt because of the labels others have given to them.
Too often, as with books, we judge people by their cover. We are tempted to dismiss people at face value instead of seeing others with the eyes of God. Again and again I am called back to Amy Grant’s song Father’s Eyes and I pray that I would see everyone I meet as our Beloved sees me;
Eyes that find the good in things
When good is not around
Eyes that find the source of help
When help just can’t be found
Eyes full of compassion
Seeing every pain
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same
Too often by our carelessness (and sadly sometimes by our prejudice) we presume that for someone to be OK they have to be like ‘us’. No, we are all called to be like our Beloved, after all we are made in God’s image and likeness. Our task is to look around us at all the beauty and diversity that God has breathed into the people of the world and find that, indeed…
We are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes, words won’t bring us down, no, no
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today.
I had a few days ago an insight which consoled me very much.
It was during my thanksgiving, when I make
a few reflections upon the goodness of God, and
how should one not think of this at such a time, of that
infinite goodness, uncreated goodness, the source of all goodness.
I saw written as in letters of gold this word, “Goodness”
which I repeated for a long time with indescribable sweetness.
I beheld it, I say, written upon all creatures, animate and inanimate,
rational or not, all bore this name goodness…
I understood then that all these creatures have of goodness and
all the services and assistance that we receive from each of them
is a benefit which we owe to the goodness of God
who has communicated to them something of his infinite goodness
so that we may meet it in everything and everywhere.
(St. Thérèse Couderc, 1865)
- Seek out a person in your family or church fellowship who others see as ugly and tell them they are beautiful.
- When Lockdown permits pamper your beautiful body a little.
(P.S. I am going to get a Pedicure and have my toenails painted with bright shiny black varnish.)
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song;
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 subslikescript.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.