Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 30 – Tuesday after 5th Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 3 Episode 17)
[KURT is getting ready to move to New York and his Dad BURT (now a Member of Congress) intervenes when he wants to throw some certificates away]
BURT: Hey, hey, what are you doing? This isn’t garbage.
KURT: Dad, it’s a certificate of participation for Regionals. The one that we lost. Come on. We have to be heartless about this stuff. You’ve seen Hoarders. This is how it starts.
BURT: I’d like to keep it.
KURT: Dad, don’t be sentimental on me.
BURT: Well, no, screw that. We haven’t been getting sentimental enough, okay? The both of us, we’ve been way too casual about this. Do you realize that we haven’t had our Friday night dinner for three weeks?
KURT: You’ve been in D.C.
BURT: You think I couldn’t get an earlier flight? Most of the other congressman are gone on Thursday night.
KURT: Okay, I don’t get it. So why have you been skipping dinner?
BURT: Because I don’t want you to go! You know, you and me, we’ve been doing this dance for over a decade. You know, Starsky and gay Hutch. Everybody warned me that when you were eight, and you were bugging the crap out of me that one day I’d be begging for you to wake me up at 4am with a nightmare or, you know, wreck the kitchen, playing restaurant.
KURT: I was nine. Who knew paella was gonna be so complicated? So you’ve been skipping dinners because you’re sad there’s not gonna be any more dinners? I’m confused.
BURT: Ah, you don’t get it yet. You know, I know you got a taste of it when you lost your mom, but it’s just like the older you get, you just see. It’s just, none of it lasts. Yes, you and I will always love each other, and you and I will always be there for each other, but, you know, as soon as you walk out our door towards New York, everything’s gonna change. And it won’t change back. Not to the way it is now. Listen, I am so happy for you. Kurt, really, I am so happy and I am so proud. You know, you and me, we, we made each other men.
BURT: Just sometimes I just, I want my sweet little boy back. I’m gonna miss you, Kurt. A lot.
KURT: I’m gonna to miss you, too, Dad.
‘I Have Nothing’ sung by Kurt
Original Artist: Whitney Houston
From the Scriptures:
“…And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. 35 In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”’
36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37 There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship. (Acts 20v32-38)
Moving on without breaking up is hard work.
Kurt and his dad have had a deep relationship founded on the common loss of a mum and wife and respect that, though both very different people, they are family. Like many of us, they don’t want to look at what the future holds for them. Kurt is business-like about things, even to the extent of putting memorabilia into hermetically sealed storage against the day when he is famous. Burt busies himself in Congress so that he doesn’t have to begin the countdown to the final Friday night dad and son dinner.
Having lived in a succession of Married Quarters and vicarages – I am now living in my 30th home which means, on average, I’ve moved home every two and a bit years – I long for a permanent home with length of years so that I might be woven into the warp and woof of a community and discover a sense of belonging that does not depend on the office I hold.
I know that I am not good at getting very close to people, I can literally count on the fingers of one hand those who are my closest friends and I know I am the poorer for that. This does not mean that I am not a friendly person (those who heard Sunday’s sermon know that I can be very gregarious) and if I am honest I know I have a need to be needed.
What makes Kurt and Burt’s separation – along with all the others that are taking place amongst the final year students at William McKinley High – is a realisation that they are who they are because of each other. The Zulu expression ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ – a person is only a person because of other people – needs to learnt again and again in a world which seems to be suffused with self-centredness and individualism.
The apostle Paul, in the midst of a tear and prayer filled farewell to the elders of the Ephesian church, reminds them of how we are to be examples and encourage each other.
When all goes well there is that one final Friday night meal, a reminder of all the times that have been spent together, good and bad, and promises to keep in touch. Sadly this is not how departures usually happen when people leave a church fellowship.
I am not sure which is worse the acrimony and rancour that occurs when there is an argument, disagreement, and brushing dust off of feet as someone leaves, or the gradual dis-ease and dissatisfaction that poisons everything until a final break is made? Saddest of all for me is when people attend worship less and less frequently and simply drift away (sometimes unnoticed) from the fellowship of Christ’s religion all together…
In the Anglican Franciscan community moving on from one place to another seems to be part of our charism as each member tries to follow their own call. When all is well we have a liturgy of Praying our Farewells in which those leaving and those staying can pray for each other, receive each other’s’ confession and forgiveness, and bless each other.
However not all farewells happen amicably and with goodwill on both sides.
For the other times we must be diligent, first of all to:
Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. (Acts 20v28)
We must be ever-watchful to ensure than none through our own lack of care drift away from the fellowship.
Secondly we must help those who have to leave over a difference in practice, direction or belief, to find another fellowship, and to commend them to the care of that new fellowship.
Thirdly and for all cases, we must learn to examine ourselves whenever someone leaves our fellowship humbly asking the Holy Spirit to point out within us any fault or neglect that made it difficult for people to continue to walk with us.
In the life of faith disagreements over personalities and priorities will occur, something about which the New Testament church knew all too well, but we must do all we can to bring healing and reconciliation so that, even though we may no longer worship together we may still embrace each other as sister and brother.
Ground of all being,
Mother of life, Father of the universe,
Your name is sacred, beyond speaking.
May we know your presence,
may your longings be our longings in heart and in action.
May there be food for the human family today
and for the whole earth community.
Forgive us the falseness of what we have done
as we forgive those who are untrue to us.
Do not forsake us in our time of conflict
but lead us into new beginnings.
For the light of life, the vitality of life,
and the glory of life are yours now and forever.
(The Casa Del Sol prayer of Jesus)
- Pray for someone who is no longer a part of your fellowship to find their place in a new one.
- Encourage a member of your fellowship whom you have not seen recently with a phone call or a postcard.
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 gleetrasubslikescripts.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