Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 17 – Monday after 3rd Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 2 Episode 9)
[Brittany has been given a featured dance to do in a competition and she is worried she will mess up the routine and let the side down. ARTIE wheeling himself down the hall when notices BRITTANY standing in the corner of an empty classroom, facing the wall. ARTIE looks around and then wheels himself in.]
ARTIE: What are you doing? We’ve been looking for you all day.
BRITTANY: I’m paralyzed with fear. I’ve been here since second period. I really, really have to pee.
ARTIE: What are you afraid of? You’re gonna be featured at Sectionals. You should be happy.
BRITTANY: I can’t handle the pressure. I know I’m more talented than all of you. Brittany Spears taught me that. It’s just, I can’t have whether we win or lose on my shoulders.
ARTIE: But, but we all know you can do it.
BRITTANY: But I know that I can’t. Just like I know that the cricket that reads to me at night is totally stealing my jewellery.
ARTIE: (pondering) It’s really too bad, I can’t give you my magic comb.
BRITTANY: What’s a magic comb?
ARTIE: You’ve never heard of a magic comb? [BRITTANY shakes her head] You comb your hair with it and you can’t lose. I mean I’d give you mine but I need it. Wait, since you’re going to dance the lead at Sectionals, if you win, I win.
BRITTANY: Please can I have the magic comb [ARTIE pulls a comb out of his pocket and hands it to BRITTANY.] Artie, thank you so much. You really are the best boyfriend ever.
[BRITTANY kisses ARTIE on the cheek. ARTIE takes BRITTANY’s hands into his.]
ARTIE: We’re gonna win this thing, because of you.
[BRITTANY starts avoiding ARTIE. He asks her why before the competition]
BRITTANY: I lost your magic comb. I don’t know what happened, I had it in my pocket, and then I went to motocross practice, and then when I left it was gone. That’s why I’ve been avoiding you, I was so ashamed. That magic comb was our only chance of winning, the only thing keeping me from totally screwing it up. I didn’t wanna let you down Artie.
ARTIE: That wasn’t a magic comb, I just found it on the floor and ran into you on the way to tossing it in the trash.
BRITTANY: And you let me comb my hair with it?
ARTIE: You don’t need a magic comb, you’re magic Brittany. The way you move and I just should have told you that in the first place and I’m sorry.
[BRITTANY leans up to kiss ARTIE.]
BRITTANY: When I’m out there dancing today, it won’t be for the team, or for the crowd. It’ll be for you.
To Watch: Buy One Get One Free day today
‘Time of My Life’ sung by Sam and Quinn
Original Artist: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warne
‘Valerie’ sung by Santana
Original Artist: Amy Winehouse (and before that The Zutons)
From the Scriptures:
[Jesus said] and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward. (Matthew 10v42)
…If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18v6)
…Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18v10)
‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’[i] Patrick Swayze with just six words enters movie stardom and launches a thousand imitations of the final dance from Dirty Dancing especially as first dances at wedding receptions! His encouraging of his new dance partner Baby Houseman is about more than just his skill but about her willingness to try new things.
In the Glee Club Brittany is their ‘Baby’. She is an innocent ingénue who lives by taking everything at face value and trusting everyone to be truthful. This is not an easy path to tread – she is the one who innocently passes on the club’s set list to Sue Sylvester – and she literally lives on her nerves end. She wants to please everyone and works hard to make things better for them and pays the price for her care of others. She is content but needs things to believe in (a whole episode is devoted to maintain her belief in Santa Claus).
There are ‘Brittanys’ all over the church of God. People who are treasured by our Beloved because their faith is unquestioning and entire. It may seem that, to those who, desperate to indulge in a Christian version of mansplaining, would want to correct them and inform them that they do not need fetish like objects to ensure that all will be well. That would be wrong
‘Magic combs’ and practices are found in all faiths. For Christians it may be items like a rosary, a fish shaped car sticker, a rote prayer said daily – such as the Prayer of Jabez or the Hail Mary, ‘standing’ on the promises of a Scripture verse, making the Sign of the Cross, or (and this is one of my ‘fetishes’) lighting a candle and letting it burn for others[ii].
It is cruel, unchristian, and sinful to insist that, though I may not need a ‘magic comb’ to tend my faith, others may not make use of them. Artie, in his love for Brittany, decides to tend her faith in herself sand help her give more of herself away. He has learnt how to look after the ‘Little Ones’ whom our Beloved commands us to cherish.
How do we do the same?
We accept the faith of another at face value. After all isn’t it somewhat arrogant (unless asked) to tell another how to answer the call Gods has placed on their lives.
We aim to learn from the devotion and care that ‘Little Ones’ pour into their faith. It is often deeper and more consistent than that of those who ‘know everything’ about the life of faith.
We celebrate that God works in mysterious ways and…
…[chooses] what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ (1 Corinthians 1v27-31)
To Pray: A ‘rote’ prayer that I have found helps me at the end of a day to out everyone where they belong. In the gentle loving embrace of our Beloved.
Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch,
or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary,
bless the dying,
soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous;
and all for your love’s sake.
(after Augustine of Hippo)
- Hand someone a ‘magic comb’. Give space to a friend to tell you of their hopes and fears (they may need some prompting) and promise that you will hold them in prayer.
- For a while, perhaps until Easter, use a simple rote devotional practice.
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song
The Time of my Life
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
[ii] It is interesting to note that all of these devotions have their fierce defenders as well as detractors. Eyebrows are occasionally raised when I, made by God as a Left-Handed person, use my Left Hand to make the Sign of the Cross when blessing the People of God…