Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 35 – Monday in Holy Week
To Read: (Series 4 Episode 6)
[MARLEY worried that she will become as obese as her mother takes advice from KITTY the Cheerios Captain to force herself to vomit after eating (KITTY has been secretly taking in MARLEY’s costumes to make her feel fat). RYDER discovers MARLEY with her fingers down her throat in the Bathroom]
RYDER: Marley? Marley, stop. Why are you doing that?
MARLEY: Why do you think? My mom’s the town joke, and I’m going to end up just like her.
RYDER: Well, sticking your fingers down your throat is only gonna
make things worse.
MARLEY: Spare me the lecture. I’ve seen the health films.
RYDER: Okay. Then Google “Johnny Pappas.” He’s my second cousin. He was a wrestler at Bowling Green, and the coach was always making him drop weight. So Johnny did all the crazy diets and puked every day when that stopped working, he used laxatives. Then last March, in the middle of a match…
MARLEY: He died?
RYDER: He crapped himself in front of the whole school.
MARLEY: I would never use laxatives.
RYDER: Well, I don’t want to kiss a girl who’s got puke on her breath. Either on stage… or later. Now, come on, we’re on in five.
‘You’re the One That I Want’ sung by Ryder and Marley
Original Artist: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
From the Scriptures:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12v1-2)
The story of Marley and her Bulimia (here are further scenes) highlights how we feel about our body, or even our mum’s body, all too easily affects how we feel about our whole being.
Hopefully we have come to a place in our society where we realise that a person’s weight, facial features, muscle tone, and hair style are seen as an irrelevance but a casual glance at any rack of magazines, especially if you are a young impressionable woman, can be soul destroying. Those who have medical conditions that make following societal norms difficult fight battles deep within their hearts each day.
In the history of the faith there are two heresies concerning our physical bodies. The first that it does not matter what we do with our bodies as we are spiritual beings so we can be gluttons and wanton and not face any consequences. The second is that the body is ‘evil’[i] and must be punished and leads to an ascetism based on punishment like that practiced by the flagellants. Somewhere along the line we mixed up sin and the body (I blame it on the Apple Tree – Genesis 2) and have had an unhealthy relationship with our bodies ever since.
This is not just about being overweight. Becoming obsessed with being healthy Christians (I recently heard of a Christian diet where participants are encouraged to ‘Be slim for Him’!) is just as unholy as not eating/over eating, not exercising/over exercising, no alcohol/a little wine for your stomach, enforced celibacy/licentiousness. The list goes on and on.
We are given the gift of our bodies to use them as instruments to serve God in the best way we can. If we abuse them our opportunities for service will be diminished. This is not only to do with food and drink, but also exercise, sexual activity, and just plain old fashioned personal hygiene. It is not for nothing that the proverb proclaims ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’.
The apostle Paul reminds us that, “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinthians 6v12). There is nothing we may not do, but knowing ourselves we may have come to learn that there are some sort of food, drink, or activity that we have come to learn we should not, and perhaps must not, do.
So we will try to lead lives that balance our soul and our body. We will nurture our bodies, try to give them the correct amount of activity and rest, attempt to follow a healthy diet, so that (as far as age and medical conditions allow) we are able to use them to do all that God asks of us.
It is not for nothing that on the night before our Beloved died He gathered His disciples together for a meal. Ready to become a sacrifice He gives them food and drink to strengthen them to be living sacrifices themselves. This is our meat and drink also. Knowing the cost of the sacrifice we offer back our own bodies, as fit and as able as nature allows, stretching out our arms to serve the world for which our Beloved stretched out his arms on the cross to redeem.
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood
of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you
our souls and bodies
to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out
in the power of your Spirit
to live and work
to your praise and glory.
- It is Holy Week and on some days we will eat less food to deepen our faith and on other days we will eat more food to celebrate our faith. Consciously say Grace at every mealtime this week, even if you are fasting for some of them…
- Over the next few days spend extra time in the bath or shower so that on Easter Day you may be able to offer clean hands to God and with them a clean heart.
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song
The Prayer is from Common Worship is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000
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 subslikescripts.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.
[i] We have not been helped by the use of the word ‘flesh’ in English translations of the Bible. When the epistles talk about the sins of the flesh (Greek – sarx) it is referring to our desires not our body (Greek – soma). Yes giving in to our ‘fleshly’ desires may show itself in how we use our physical bodies but it is not our bodies themselves that are sinful. Our body is nothing less than an obedient servant who will do all that we ask of it…