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Re-purposing

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I love “Glee.” I love “Glee” because it reminds me of days long past. The hours and hours and hours spent in rehearsal with my school’s equivalent of ‘New Directions.’ I love “Glee” for tackling some real life issues (being unpopular, teen pregnancy, homosexuality, friendships) and using music to move along the story. And I loved last night’s episode because it dealt with the issue of faith.

Using contemporary music to explore issues of faith is not new. In fact, I first used the episode’s final musical offering, “One of Us” by Joan Osborne, back in the mid 1990’s, at the suggestion of one of my classmates.

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to His face
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make His way home

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make His way home
He’s trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the Pope maybe in Rome

Because at the time that I used this song it was one that my students heard regularly, the lyrics were familiar to them. It was contemporary and, therefore, an accessible starting point for a discussion about belief. In last night’s episode, this song helped bring closure to those filled with the angst, questions, struggles, and resolutions that come with spiritual growth.

Belief is a funny thing. Like love, it can wax and wane. Life’s difficulties can challenge our belief in a God Who is intangible. While we can see God’s Imprint, we cannot see God. Though we can sense a Divine melody pulsing through Creation, God’s Voice can be blotted out by the noise of daily life. Adolescence is period ripe with anguish. Reexamining childhood beliefs is an important part of building a sustainable understanding of the Holy One.

What I most appreciated about last night’s episode was the reworking of The Beatles‘ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” from an upbeat pop song to a lyric ballad. With the protagonist’s father lying in a coma, snippets of memories, shot as old home movies, recall times when the hand of the father brought comfort and strength to his son.

Switching out the tinny guitars for the lush, full-bodied strings, what was once a light-hearted love ballad became the gut-wrenching plea of a motherless son, poised to lose his father as well.

I felt like a wrung-out dishrag by the time the song ended…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, 7 October 2010 7:31 am

    You’re dead on about I Want to Hold Your Hand. It was beautiful.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 7 October 2010 11:43 pm

      I have been unable to stop hearing it in my mind. So haunting.

  2. K.C. permalink
    Thursday, 7 October 2010 12:31 pm

    I agree. It’s amazing how beautiful hearing just one cord can be or how someone can get tears in their eyes by hearing a mom hum a lullaby to her kid. No lyrics required. Music is very spiritual. I love how a whole room can listen to one song and everyone can understand it in a different way and make it their own.

    Or you can hear bad music and want to cause harm to your own eardrums. You’ll understand if you ever hear me play my cello 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 7 October 2010 11:42 pm

      This totally reminded me of one of SNL’s “Deep Thoughts.” I was totally in that spiritual place as I read your first paragraph.

      You got me good. Laughed outloud at the thought of bad cello playing.

  3. threadzofblue permalink
    Thursday, 7 October 2010 1:22 pm

    I’ve not watched this show, but I may have to check it out now that I’ve read this post.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 7 October 2010 11:44 pm

      I will admit that although the show came highly recommended, it took me several episodes to get accustomed to the quirky style.

      But now I love it.

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