Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 22 – Saturday after 3rd Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 3 Episode 2)
[RACHEL’s mum SHELBY, who gave her up for adoption and later adopted QUINN’s baby Beth, has become a teacher at William McKinley High. She wants to help QUINN not miss out on Beth’s important milestones in life. Before she does she wants QUINN, who has taken up Punk fashion and joined a group of rebels called ‘The Skanks’, to change her lifestyle.]
QUINN: (to SHELBY) You’re back.
SHELBY: Yeah, I went to New York. Thought I’d do it all, the whole working mother thing. But, when I was in rehearsal, even performing, I couldn’t stop thinking about Beth. How I could miss her milestones, you know? Her first steps, first words, first…
QUINN: I get it.
SHELBY: So, when I got this job offer I couldn’t refuse. I’d missed so many firsts in Rachel’s life, I was not about to do that with Beth.
QUINN: Neat story, but I’m late for a meeting on the roof.
[QUINN turns to leave.]
PUCK: (grabbing her arm) Quinn, just listen to her.
SHELBY: Wait, look. Since the day that I gave Rachel up for adoption I have been walking through life, searching for her face everywhere I go – imagining what she’s doing, what she may be like. I don’t want you to go through what I went through. Part of me is back here because I want you to get to know Beth. I want you to be a part of her life.
QUINN: When do I get to see her?
SHELBY: Are you okay? What’s going on with you? Are you even in Glee anymore?
QUINN: Did you come here just to torment me with the idea of seeing my child?
SHELBY: Look. I want you to be a part of Beth’s life, but not like this. If you’re really serious about Beth, clean up your act.
QUINN: You think you can tell me what to do, just because you signed a couple of papers? You’re not her mom. I’m her mom. Me. So you can pretend all you want but that is something you are never going to be.
‘Somewhere’ sung by Rachel and Shelby
Original Artist: Natalie Wood and Jimmy Bryant
(the song begins at 1min 20sec)
From the Scriptures:
Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.
16 Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
17 there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
your children shall come back to their own country.
This weekend is Mothering Sunday, and in the liturgical year it is the anniversary of the first Covid Lockdown in the United Kingdom. It was on Mothering Sunday last year that everything closed down. Planned outings and lunches and cream teas with mums were cancelled. Flower posies made to be handed out in church were left untended. What should have been a day of celebrating life and those who gave us life suddenly felt very lifeless and our joy was replaced by fear.
This year things are looking better. We have found different ways of marking important days and future freedom from restrictions on family life beckon. Yet even with this we have had a difficult week for women and mothers in our nation (see my sermon for Mothering Sunday Birth Pains).
Some mothers though are never able to enjoy Mothering Sunday. The bereaved, those who have miscarried, those who are estranged from their children or live too far away from them, and the many mothers who, with the illnesses that come with advancing years, are no longer able to recognise their own children.
Today’s words from Glee speak about those mothers who, to the unthinking and uncaring, gave up on their child by giving them up for adoption. Society still seems eager to condemn these mothers. Often accused of being selfish and uncaring they are whispered about behind their backs and are refused permission to weep over their, to them, lost child.
I have the privilege of being godfather to two young girls, one aged eleven and the other turning nine in two weeks’ time. I have only met them once, the day they were brought to church for baptism before they were handed over to a Social Worker to be adopted. I pray for them using the names their mothers gave to them, though that may not be the names they are called now. I pray for their adoptive families, and I pray – especially on Mothering Sunday – for their birth mothers who asked that they be baptised and placed in God’s care before being cradled by another mother.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Mothering Sunday with joy and thankfulness do it with as much laughter and generosity and laugh as current restrictions permit.
If you cannot celebrate because your mother is faraway, be it that she is living elsewhere or has withdrawn into herself, pray for her.
If you cannot do so because the one who cradled you in her arms now rests safe in the Everlasting Arms give thanks for all that you have received from her.
If you are separated from your mother because of a past disagreement – try once again to make things right.
And if you do not know your mother because you were given up for adoption or if you are a mother who gave up your child for adoption. Know this our Beloved promises, in the fullness of God’s love, that you shall be together, restored to each other in that place when we;
…shall weep no more. [God] will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. (Isaiah 30v19)
For in our Beloved’s economy, as Rachel and Shelby sing for all mothers and children, there is a place for us…
who gathered Rachel’s tears over her lost children,
hear now the sorrow and distress
of mothers and fathers
at the death of their expected child;
in the darkness of loss,
stretch out to them the strength of your arm
and renewed assurance of your love;
through your own suffering and risen Child Jesus.
(Grace Cathedral – San Francisco)
- Write a letter to your mother. It does not have to be sent to her.
- Mothering Sunday was originally a day when those in service could return home to their ‘Mother Church’. Sometime this week visit a church.
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