Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 11 – Monday after 2nd Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 1 Episode 22)
[At the end of the first Series New Directions lose a Competition which they had to win to avoid being disbanded (don’t worry, they got a reprieve) and the group gathers to sing a final song for their teacher]
RACHEL: Mr. Schuester?
RACHEL: Can you please come to the auditorium?
[They go to the auditorium where the group is gathered]
RACHEL: So we have something we need to say to you.
MATT: In the beginning of this year, I was just another football player.
TINA: I had a stutter.
MERCEDES: I was a closeted diva.
QUINN: I used to be captain of the Cheerios.
MIKE: I was afraid to dance outside my room.
SANTANA: I hated everyone in this club.
BRITTANY: So did I.
KURT: I wasn’t honest about who I was.
PUCK: I was tossing kids into Dumpsters.
ARTIE: I had never kissed a girl before.
RACHEL: And I was getting slushied.
FINN: I didn’t-I didn’t have a father. Someone I could look up to. Model myself after. Someone who could show me what it really meant to be a man.
RACHEL: We don’t care what the judges say. We won. Because we had you as a teacher.
MERCEDES: And Glee Club will never end, Mr. Shue, because… you are Glee Club. And you’re in all of us now.
‘To Sir, With Love’ sung by New Directions
Original Artist: Lulu
From the Scriptures:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2v6-7)
How do you cope with failure?
Try again or give up?
Blame someone for it; be it yourself or another?
Complain that things weren’t fair?
New Directions do none of the above. Though they have ‘failed’ they know that they have one because they got as far as failing. And that is a success. Their success is not measured by having a wall-full of the oversize trophies beloved of Sue Sylvester and her Cheerios. Nor is it even measured by their songs. Their success is measured by transformed lives and relationships.
These are their trophies:
A stutter banished
An end to bullying
A father figure found.
A ‘Trophy List’ of which to be proud indeed and trophies that will not fade or tarnish because, as Mercedes says, ‘Glee Club will never end, Mr. Shue, because… you are Glee Club. And you’re in all of us now.’
An interesting list of trophies and a very different way of looking at failure. It is not so much about not making a goal or losing a prize but recognising that even being in the competition is a success.
Failure as a mark of success is a difficult concept to live out. Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s famous words about taking part being more important than winning is more than an easy platitude. After all in the High Jump the athlete only wins when they have finally failed.
So too is the game of life. In the end we all ‘fail’ at life; we all die. Just because we all die doesn’t mean we don’t bother trying to live. This is an important lesson to learn for those on a journey of faith. I am quite good at failing in particular areas of life. I allow myself to be easily angered. I am not at all tidy, in fact I am too lazy to be tidy (tick off Sloth on that list of the seven big ones). And while you’re going through that list I am quite big on envy as well. But I am not as big on these failures as I used to be. Hopefully without adding Pride to the list, I have become quite successful at failing, owning to my errors, being grateful for the improvements that mean I can jump the bar of life a little higher before knocking it over.
It is ‘trophies’ such as these that people in vocational professions strive to endow those in their care with. It is an odd situation really. The Nurse’s crowning glory is a patient restored to health, even though she may spend her own in providing that healing. The Lecturer’s ‘gain’ is someone else’s degree. A Lawyer’s treasure is justice upheld for their client. An Actor’s contentment is found in the enjoyment of another.
So, if you are one such person, thank you for giving away your prize, your very self, to others.
And if you are someone who does not have a formal vocation remember we are all called to be the best version of ourselves we can be. It is as we go through the struggles and failures of our common vocation that we become God’s gift to others.
If you’ve failed at one of your Lenten disciplines, put the bar back in place and have another go. If athletes are allowed three attempts at failure surely we are as well?
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times,
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes,
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.
- Thank someone who helped you be a better you.
- Make your own ‘Trophy List’ of personal achievements using the Fruits of the Spirit as a guide (Galatians 5v22-26). Give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
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 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
Pax et Bonum
Revd Canon Andrew Dotchin
Vicar of Felixstowe Town and Rural Dean of Colneys The New Vicarage, 54 Princes Road, FELIXSTOWE, IP11 7PL, Suffolk
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