Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 9 – Friday after 1st Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 1 Episode 20)
[Rachel, Quinn and Mercedes spy on a rehearsal by their competitors Vocal Adrenaline. After hearing their coach Shelby Corcoran sing Funny Girl Rachel, who was given up for adoption as a baby, realises Shelby is her mother.]
RACHEL: Ms. Corcoran ? I’m Rachel Berry, I’m your daughter. Did you ever regret it?
SHELBY: Yes. Then no. Then so much.
RACHEL: When did you realize it was the right time for me to find you?
SHELBY (chuckles): I saw you sing at sectionals. You were extraordinary. You were me.
RACHEL: Was it hard for you to not become a star? To not have your dreams come true?
SHELBY: It felt like a broken promise. Like the Fisher King’s wound – never heals.
RACHEL: Wow. Genetics really are amazing. You see the world with the same fierce theatricality as I do. Even the way we’re sitting right now is so dramatic, and yet we feel so comfortable with it.
SHELBY: I’ve missed so much. How do you feel ?
RACHEL: Thirsty. When I was little and I used to get sad, my dads would bring me a glass of water. It got so I couldn’t tell if I was sad or just thirsty.
SHELBY: I shouldn’t have done this. This was supposed to feel good. We were supposed to have some kind of slow-motion run into each other’s arms. This is all wrong.
RACHEL: Maybe we can just go to dinner or something just to get over the initial shock.
SHELBY: I’m so sorry, Rachel. Uh… I’ll… I’ll call you.
To Watch: (from Series 1 Episode 19 – this was sung before the conversation above.)
‘I Dreamed a Dream’ sung by Shelby and Rachel
Original Artist (in English): Patti Lupone
From the Scriptures:
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
(Isaiah 55 v 1-3)
For the most part most people defend their family. Familes may be quirky, they may be infuriating, we may want to disown them, yet they are our possession, heritage, and future in a way little else is. Which is why not having a birth family, despite the tender love and care of whoever raises you, can have such a traumatic effect on an adopted child’s life.
Rachel is happy and secure in the circle of love made by, as she delights in calling them, her ‘two gay dads’, yet she still has an emptiness, a thirst within her. Today’s song, so, so appropriate to this situation, reminds her and us that some things are broken and are ‘dreams that cannot be’. Even if the truth is discovered, history remains unchanged and the past cannot be re-written. Rachel puts the whole of her life into one word when she describes how she felt about being adopted as being ‘Thirsty’.
Some reading these words may not know who their family are.
Some reading these words may be estranged from their family.
Some reading these words may not be happy with their family.
All of us, be we from a happy family, a dysfunctional family, or an unknown family, know the feeling of having an unslaked thirst.
Because water is the source of our life to thirst is to know our mortality. Without water we wither and die within days. Perhaps the greatest interior thirst is to know that we are alone? It is no coincidence that on the Cross our Beloved speaks both words of abandonment and of thirst…
Be we orphaned, abandoned, or neglected, to not know from where we will next receive the milk of human kindness is to leave us uncertain of who we are and frightened of making deep commitments of our own.
Jesus is the one who provides life giving water and calls all of us to be part of one great family where the wounds of the past are given the space to become scars reveal God’s healing power. And so setting us free from ‘the dreams that cannot be’ of whatever the past has dealt us, and allowing us to walk homeward with our sisters and brothers.
I cannot imagine the deep lifelong pain of those who do not know their birth family. I know that one day (please Lord not to soon) when my mother is promoted to glory I too will become an orphan and have the privilege (DV) of being the minister at her funeral. I will only be able to do this because I know the One who has loved her and my whole family and who, at the moments of our deepest emptiness when our very souls are parched is the water of life eternal.
Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days;
for then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days;
for then we can share that which we have with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days;
for then we are able to celebrate you, and our families, and our friends.
For those who have no voice,
we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy,
we ask you to pour out your love in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain,
we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed,
we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.
You, the borderless sea of substance:
We ask You to give to all the world that which we need most,
- In your prayers remember fostered children, orphans, their carers and their parents. Often we pray for others.
- Pray that your own thirsts may be quenched.
Reprise: Click here to watch another version of today’s song. Anne Hathaway didn’t sing the original but her version in the movie Les Misérables is my favourite. She needed only one Take for the whole performance and it is heart achingly beautiful.
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 transcripts.foreverdreaming.org
These Reflections, ‘ ‘Gospel According to Glee’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2021 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged