Last night’s episode of Glee was very, very Catholic.
The teens explored religion when one, Finn, the singing QB, makes a grilled cheese sandwich on the George Foreman grill and finds the face of Jesus imprinted on it.
He prays, nearly mockingly to it, “O Grilled Cheesus…”
Now I’m sure some took offense to this, I merely spit diet coke all over the couch in laughter.
Later, Kurt, an openly gay character, rejects the notion of prayer and God completely, when students suggest praying for his father, who suffers a heart attack and is left comatose. He sings a striking version of the Beatles, “I want to hold your hand” later in the episode.
It should be noted that the show offered many pro-life themes. Kurt suggests that some religions look upon his humanity as a gay person as “less than.” It’s never suggested that Kurt’s dad should be euthanized, quite the opposite in fact. Even the jaded, evil, Cheerio Coach, Sue, has a tender moment with her sister, where she reveals that she stops believing in God because people looked at her sister as “less than perfect” when she clearly knew otherwise simply because she has down’s syndrome.
“God doesn’t make mistakes. That’s what I believe.” she says. She later adds, “Do you want me to pray for you Sue?”
OK, that made me cry.
But perhaps the most Eucharistic moment of all is when Finn, eats the grilled cheese sandwich after exploring that God goes far beyond his very notions of a magical Santa Claus. It’s his connection with God and the longing for intimacy with his peers that is very central to our idea of communion. As he eats the sandwich, the symbolism is clear: Finn longs to be connected with the Body of Christ.
Mercedes brings the house down twice with an amazingly refreshing version of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” with full gospel accompaniment and a haunting rendition of “I look to You” which I’ll leave you with here.
Sometimes life really does imitate art (intentional misquote). This episode reflected the feelings and questions that many young people have about religion. We should note that many of them rolled their eyes at the mention of the word “spirituality.” But the good news is that as bad as things get, most of them just “don’t stop believin.'”