Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 38 – Maundy Thursday
To Read: (Series 4 Episode 18)
[BECKY frightened that she will have to leave school, steals here father’s gun and brings it to school. She fires two shots which injures no one, but the school goes into Lockdown. The Glee Club is in the Choir Room when the shots occur but TINA is stranded outside and BRITTANY is hiding in the bathroom with two other students. While WILL goes searching for them Club members make a video dairy]
TINA (Outside the school): Principal Figgins, I need to go back in. It’s Glee practice, and everyone is in the choir room. I was late.
FIGGINS: No way. Not until the police go in and give the all-clear!
BLAINE (in the choir room): Artie, what are you doing?
ARTIE (sets a video camera running): If we don’t get out of here, people need to see this. Does anybody have anything they want to say?
RYDER: Yeah. Me. I love you, Dad. Thanks for, like… everything. And I know I don’t always let you know, but you’ve taught me a lot.
MARLEY: There’s a fake bottom… to my desk drawer. If you look under it, um… there’s a journal with a bunch of songs that I wrote. I’ve never told anyone, but I’m really proud of them.
JAKE: Uh… Mom, Puck… …I love you guys.
SAM: You guys. Turn it off. Please turn it off.
[WILL discovers BRITTANY and the other students and brings them to the choir room and the ‘All Clear’ is called… at the end of today’s song there are more video messages]
SAM: Mom, Dad, I love you guys, and there is a cat in my backpack in my locker. Please feed her for me.
UNIQUE: Anyone that ever watches this, never stop believing in yourself.
KITTY: Hi, Mom and Dad. I just wanted you to know… …that I love you. And this has been the best year of my life. Even though… maybe it didn’t seem like it.
ARTIE: I just want to say that I’ve had the best experience of my entire life in this room, and that I love these people more than anything.
‘Say (What You Need to Say)’ sung by Sam and the Glee Club
Original Artist: John Mayer
From the Scriptures:
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22v19-20)
When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” 50 Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. (Luke 22v49-50)
The Wikipedia entry that lists School Shootings in the USA is 57 pages long and during the time Glee was being produced (May 2009 to March 2015 – 73 months) there were 97 separate shootings resulting in the deaths of 80 children and staff and the injury of 124 others at 84 of the schools. Today’s episode of Glee was aired four months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in which 28 were killed, 20 of them being First Grade children aged only six to seven years.
It is a great sadness that little ever seems to be done about this other than the almost vacuous yet well-meant ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ messages are on everyone’s lips when another mass shooting occurs. How can this cycle of violence be broken?
In our two film clips from Glee today we see how school children prepare for what seems to be the almost inevitable. They record memories, they say unsaid things, they confess their errors, they admit to their loves, and they resolve to gather together – even if it is in the face of the officially sanctioned school assembly where everyone will be given ‘the talk’ about how to cope with grief and fear.
There seem to be at least two reasons why some types of tragedies (school shootings, abuse, hate crime) persists in any society.
The first is that they are so soul destroying and mind numbing that, after we think we have given our grief enough attention, we are embarrassed by what happened and want to hide or explain away what happened amongst us and so forget, and then the cycle begins again. As Margaret Attwood wrote in The Testaments, her sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale;
History does not
but it rhymes
When we forget to remember we are doomed to repeat.
The second is that when threatened and challenged, instead of risking the possibility of learning a new way of living and behaving from others, we too often descend into physical violence. The Biblical exegetes are unsure as to what Jesus meant when, before going to Gethsemane, he told the disciples that instead of going about unprepared as before they should now carry, purse, bag, and sword (Luke 22v35-38) but his response to their eager reply “Lord, look, here are two swords.” Seems to suggest that they didn’t understand what he intended. His healing of the slave’s ear a short while later shows that he did not intend violence to be used in His defence. Perhaps Tertullian had it right when he stated, ‘Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.’
On the first Maundy Thursday evening, before the violence and a miraculous healing there is a moment of remembering to take with us for all the times in the future when bodies will be broken and blood spilt. Our Beloved teaches us these two lessons to avoid tragedy – frequent remembering and frequent surrender.
We are called encourage each other as we gather for a Holy Meal where we remember the One who bore the violence of the world to reconcile us to God and to each other and make peace where there was enmity (Ephesians 2v11-14).
We are called to take the nourishment that this food, this holy remembering, brings us, and turn it into strength to walk the extra mile, turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, and refuse to demand eye for eye and tooth for tooth (Matthew 5v38-42)
We are called to be people who hold the violence of the Cross ever before us as a reminder that peace is won not by violence but by humility, love, and sacrifice.
As I look around
I see the crumbling ruins of civilization
like a vast heap of futility.
Yet I shall not commit
the grievous sin
of losing faith in man
- Record or write a message for your loved ones for them to open after your death. Remember to update this at least annually.
- Violence comes in many forms. Physical, emotional, mental, verbal, and neglect. Resolve to be a non-violent person but especially so with those with whom you are at odds.
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phaIklEphSM
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 subslikescriptscom
These Reflections, ‘ ‘Gospel According to Glee’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2021 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged