Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 21 – Friday after 3rd Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 2 Episode 18)
[Long Introduction: KURT has returned to the school. SANTANA and KAROFSKY (both in the closet) pretend to be a couple and form the ‘Bullwhips’ to, protect KURT and ARTIE, win popularity, and hide each other’s Orientation. After RACHEL’s worries about a Nose Job WILL has asked Glee Club members to each wear a Tee-Shirt to their next practice which proclaims something about which they are self-conscious but happy to own up to being. BRITTANY and SANTANA meet at SANTANA’s locker]
BRITTANY: Hey. Do you like my shirt for Glee Club?
[BRITTANY opens her jacket to reveal her shirt with the words, “I’M WITH STOOPID” and an arrow pointing upwards on it]
SANTANA: That one’s perfect. Check out mine.
[SANTANA opens her jacket to reveal her shirt with the word, “BITCH” on it]
SANTANA: What? This is perfect. Legend has it that when I came out of my mother, I told the nurse she was fat.
BRITTANY: Well…I made a different one for you.
[BRITTANY unfolds another shirt with the word, “LEBANESE” on it]
SANTANA: I’m Hispanic. Wait, was that supposed to be “Lesbian”?
BRITTANY: Yeah, isn’t that what it says? When you told me all that stuff the other week, it meant so much to me. To see you be so honest. Especially ’cause I know how bad it hurt. I was so proud of you.
SANTANA: Yeah, well don’t get used to it. And certainly don’t even think about telling anyone.
BRITTANY: Why not? You’re like the most awesome-est girl at this school. Why would you try to hide any of that?
SANTANA: I’m dating Karofsky now.
BRITTANY: It’s gross.
SANTANA: You don’t get a say in who I date anymore.
BRITTANY: Why not, because I’m dating somebody? Because you’re Lebanese and I think I’m bi-curious?
SANTANA: No. Because I said I love you. You didn’t say you loved me back.
BRITTANY: I do love you. Clearly you don’t love you as much as I do or you’d put the shirt on and you would dance with me.
[WILL and New Directions are onstage in the auditorium]
WILL: All right, guys. Listen up. You all did really good this week. It was tough, but I think we came closer as a team and I’m proud of you. And now, I’d like to be the first one to show off my custom T-shirt, revealing something I was self-conscious about in the past, something I was born with, something I’ve come to accept about myself this past week. So, drumroll, Finn.
[WILL reveals his shirt with the words, “BUTT CHIN” on it]
MERCEDES: I like your chin, Mr. Shue.
TINA: Yeah, I would’ve went with “Tears up a lot.”
WILL: Uh, is everyone here?
RACHEL: Not everybody. I wanted to thank you guys for my Barbravention. And I have an announcement to make. I went to my doctor and…I cancelled my appointment. And then I went home and I made this.
[RACHEL unveils her shirt saying “NOSE” on it]
‘Born This Way’ sung by New Directions
Original Artist: Lady Gaga
From the Scriptures:
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
15My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them – they are more than the sand;
I come to the end – I am still with you.
During Apartheid in South Africa every resident was not only classified by the Race or Colour but for those whose race was uncertain, or where a mother did not produce the ID number of a child’s father (which told your race – I was classified as ‘White, non-South African) had to go before the Race Classification Board. At the Board often humiliating personal examinations where undertaken to decide which race or colour someone was which often led to families being forcibly separated. This led to some truly tragic situations.
A beloved parishioner of mine was of mixed heritage but could, as they say ‘pass for White’. This meant she had a different circle of friends then her family and, as fate would have it, she fell in love with a White man from an Afrikaans family. There love was deep and true and they married. Something that was then illegal for a mixed race couple to do. She had not told her husband that she was ‘Coloured’ – the term South Africans used for anyone who didn’t fit into a tribal or White box. And to prevent him finding out told his family that she was an orphan, though she had sisters and brothers and a mother and father still alive. She cut them out of her life because of her love for him.
Four times she fell pregnant. Four times she had a back street abortion. Four times she told her husband that she had a miscarriage. Four times she came to me in tears asking for forgiveness for killing her babies out of fear that they might not be as pale-skinned as she and her husband.
Yesterday we looked at people wanting to become someone other than themselves. Today the issue is people who, because of the prejudice and pressure of others, are not able to be who they are. Will finally accepts his big chin, Rachel her nose, Brittany her ‘daffiness’ (with which she seems quite comfortable), Quinn ‘owns’ an insulting nickname from Junior School, and each of them boosts their own confidence by proclaiming who they are except for Santana and Karofsky….
It is a great sadness that people cannot be who they are, who God made them to be, without fear of ridicule, rejection, and even persecution. This week in our nation we have seen people pilloried for their skin tone, their Mental Health, feeling suicidal, and at least one murdered simply for being a woman. And we still wait for a long promised (over 1000 days) ban on Conversion Therapy which has led to suicide amongst young churchgoers such as Lizzie Lowe.
Christians rejoice that they are made in the image of God, are loved by God perfectly (even when they mess up – it was while we were yet sinners that our Beloved died for us on the cross). In the Incarnation of Christ we see God saying ‘Yes’ to the human experience of being flesh and blood along with all the glorious variations that that brings with it.
If a particular form of flesh and blood – Jesus was Jewish, of uncertain parentage, probably had olive skin and perhaps even a ‘Rachel nose’ – is ok for God to be comfortable with why can’t we help each other, as Avril Lavigne sings ‘fit into our skin?’
There is nothing about who we were born to be that requires denial or a cover up. Our skin tone, the number of Chromosomes we have, our gender, our physical abilities, our orientation, our facial features are all part of who we are and make up the person who God loves perfectly. And if I can’t love all of the ‘me’ God made me to be I will spend my life in an uphill struggle trying to love those who are different to me!
Perhaps this is why we can only ‘love our neighbours as we love ourselves?’ Once we have come to know that we are loved and loveable then we will begin to be able to love someone different to us.
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you.
I love you
For the part of me that you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
And passing over all foolish, weak things
That you can’t help dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light
All the beautiful belongings that no one else,
had looked quite far enough to find.
I love you
because you are helping me
to make of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern but a temple;
Out of the works of my every day
Not a reproach but a song…
(Mary Carolyn Davies)
- Have a look at the UK list of Protected Characteristics and try and find out about the lived experience of those with a characteristic that you are least familiar?
- If you were in Glee Club what thing about yourself which you are self-conscious would you put on a T-shirt?
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song
Please Note: These reflections are also published on my blog: www.suffolkvicarhomes.com, on Twitter as @SuffolkVicar, and on my public Facebook page Rev Andrew Dotchin
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