Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 28 – Saturday after 4th Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 3 Episode 15)
[At the end of the previous episode Quinn had a car accident while sending a text message which left her with a compressed spine and needing to use a wheelchair for a while. The Seniors are gathered together to discuss their ‘Ditch Day’ – a day out to celebrate their school journey]
PUCK: We all know why we’re here. I’ve waited five years for this. I want ideas for Senior Ditch Day. Go.
KURT: Ooh! A Gershwin/Sondheim scavenger hunt!
SANTANA: That sounds like torture.
PUCK: We want actual ideas, Kurt.
MIKE: Footloose movie marathon. Footloose; Footloose 2011.
MERCEDES: What about a non-alcoholic pub crawl?
PUCK: It’s Senior Ditch Day, not Senior Citizen’s Ditch Day.
BRITTANY: It’s springtime. I would like to see something give birth.
RACHEL: [crying] Quinn, I’m so sorry. It was my wedding that you were going to when you got into your car crash and you were answering my text message, and now we’re all sitting here, and we’re talking about this day that’s supposed to be the most amazing and unforgettable day of our High School lives, and we’re completely ignoring the fact that she’s still sitting in that chair? It’s not right. It’s not right, and it shouldn’t be like this.
QUINN: Well, maybe not, but this is the way it is. My accident, which you did not cause, by the way, does not define me or ruin our Senior year. I meant what I said in the choir room. [see song video below] I’m not gonna dwell on this, and neither should any of you, okay? Come here. Come on [Rachel and Quinn embrace] Now, we are ditching as planned. I think we should go to Six Flags amusement park.
PUCK: The Lady Fabray has chosen wisely. Six Flags it is. Meeting adjourned.
‘I’m Still Standing’ sung by Quinn and Artie
Original Artist: Elton John
From the Scriptures:
As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3 Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ 9 Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ 10 But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ 11 He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ 12 They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’ (John 9v1-12)
‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ – The Disciples
‘My accident, which you did not cause… does not define me’ – Quinn Fabray
‘Born this Way’ is a lovely anthem for affirming a denied identity but what if how we were born is not physically the same as others?
What if we were born with a different way of processing the world around us than others?
What if our identity is limited, suppressed, or made more chaotic by the restrictions of our body or our mind?
What if those restrictions (sometimes called disabilities) are seen by some as a curse, or a sin, or a punishment?
Should Christians be praying for people to healed from disabilities or pray for acceptance and God’s strength to live with the disability?
Sadly, Jesus’ words above are not very helpful as they illustrate the battle between darkness and light played out in John’s Gospel. However they do remind us that we cannot sit by and do nothing, (We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day).
We cannot, which may be the easiest option, simply ignore those around us who are in need. We also must not presume that disabled people need our unasked for prayer for healing – that is simply, as my friend and wheelchair user Rev Zoe Hemming says, being abusive.
Two of the main characters in Glee – wheelchair user Archie and Becky with Down’s Syndrome – seem to, even in an accepting environment, still be banging their head against the walls of a world built for ‘normal’ people. For an episode or two, after her car accident, Quinn joins their number and is able to be an ally and a voice for those who are not listened to even when they do speak.
Amongst disabled people the stories are legendary as to how non-disabled people do not communicate well with them. People talk to care-givers instead of the person themselves – as if they can’t hear as well as can’t walk. Guide dogs sometimes are more talked to than their owners – who may be blind but are not necessarily deaf.
And still churches, who want to include everyone, do not check access to venues, hearing loops and materials for the Visually Impaired.
Since I have been a member of General Synod my life has been enriched by the work of Disability & Jesus who constantly remind us that we can’t be ‘us’ unless and until we include them. They are challenging and sometimes it is awkward to listen to their voices as it may seem as if they are always complaining…
No they are not!
They are speaking in the only way they are able since church fellowships are very bad at making space for those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Like Quinn in today’s extract, the ‘normal’ church needs to start shouting with and for all members of the Body of Christ not just those who can make it into the building.
As their strapline says;
A Church without Disabled People is a Disabled Church!
In a time when meeting as physical church has not always been possible it is disabled people, whose place of worship is often only online, who can teach us much about being a community that is welcoming of all and not only those with whom it is easy to fellowship.
The Ordinary Office is a wonderful example of how online worship can include more people than in-person worship and has some gentle tender prayers that will melt your heart.
When lockdown is over let’s not make the mistake of thinking that just because some of the church can come back into the church building we are including all of the church.
This prayer is from the Ordinary Office.
Leave no one behind Lord
We locked down together
Let us leave together
Leave no one behind Lord
Let no one feel they are abandoned
No one feeling forgotten
Leave no one behind Lord
No lost sheep
Teach us to wait Lord
To watch and pray
Wait for the last Lord
And let them be first.
- Follow Disability & Jesus on Twitter and perhaps visit their website to see how your church fellowship can use the resources they recommend – more will be added soon.
- Pray The Ordinary Office at least once.
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song
The prayer ‘Leave No One Behind’ is copyright © Dave Lucas
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.
These Reflections, ‘ ‘Gospel According to Glee’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2021 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged