Finding God in Musicals: “Grease, Summer Nights”

I really do love musicals. I wish life were more like them; like people just spontaneously breaking out in relevant choreographed song and dance at different parts of the day. That would be awesome! I bet Heaven is like that.

You wouldn’t think a song about two teenagers relishing in their summer romance would have anything whatsoever to do with the spiritual life, but it absolutely has everything to do with it. Notice how this piece in the musical begins. The first fruit of falling in love is that you can’t wait to witness about it. When you first fall in love, you just have to tell someone all about the person you’ve fallen for and everything that you two do when you’re together. And that is the very first thing that Christians do when they have a conversion of the heart to Christ. They just can’t wait to tell everyone about Jesus. That’s why new Christians are some of the best evangelists of the faith. And that’s just what Sandy and Danny are doing here.

“Tell me more, tell me more” For their part, your friends, your Daughters of Jerusalem as they are called in the Song of Songs, those who are gathered to hear the good news, are just as happy for you and they relish in hearing about your new love and they ask questions and test it according to their own experiences and expectations. For example, when Marty asks Sandy, “Like does he have a car”, for her that’s important to a relationship. Or when Doody asks, “Did you get very far”, he’s asking ‘How serious are you two?’ The very same thing happens when you first witness about Christ in our life to our friends. Our friends ask questions like ‘how did it happen’, ‘where were you when it happened’, and other types of questions that test how serious we are about our new relationship with Christ. When Sonny asks, “Could she get me a friend?”, he’s just expressing righteous envy – he wants what he’s friend has, because he knows it is good and would be good for him as well. Again, it parallels the spiritual life. It’s not uncommon for those who are close to us to fall in love with God when we share with them how good He is. They begin to want what we have and are converted.

It is true, Danny and Sandy have two completely different stories about the summer romance they shared. Who knows which one is true, if either. All we know is that they both had a brief encounter with love that changed their life. The same is true in the spiritual life. You and I have both encountered God, who is love, and have two completely different conversion experiences to witness about.

Indeed, that’s how powerful love is. If love were just a thing or just an emotion everyone would experience it almost the very same way. For example, when I use to attend Jaguar car shows, I found that the things I enjoyed most about my Jaguar were the same things that other owners did. And as crude as it sounds, I’m sure my ex-wife’s fiance enjoys many of the same things about her as I once did. People who experience depression or alcoholism have nearly identical stories about how those things affect them physically. Not so with love. No love is the same and everyone has a unique love affair with God. The reason being is that the relationship that God enters into with us is the experience of a living love that actually changes what we are. Nothing else on the face of the earth does that. Granted, I may love my house, but it’s a dead object – it’s not living and it doesn’t conform me to the image of Christ, but the love of God does. The only things on earth that gives us a hint of a taste of the power of the love of God is the love between husband and wife or parent and child.

“It turned colder – that’s where it ends” Ahh yes, the spiritual climax of the song. The first encounter we have with love is great. It’s the mountain top experience that can only last for a season. We can no more forever stay on the mountain than we can forever stay at wedding ceremony or in the Sacrifice of the Mass. God gives us the experience of love so that we might go out and share it and bear witness to His glory. There will indeed be some dark nights to come after we have descended down from the mountain, “bu-ut oh, those su-ummer nights… “

Grease – Summer Nights Lyrics
Album: New Broadway Cast Recording

        [Danny]
        Summer lovin’ had me a blast

        [Sandy]
        Summer lovin’ happened so fast

        [Danny]
        I met a girl crazy for me

        [Sandy]
        Met a boy cute as can be

        [Both]
        Summer days driftin’ away, to uh-oh those summer nights

        [Everyone]
        Uh Well-a well-a well-a huh

        [Thunderbirds]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Doody]
        Did you get very far?

        [Pink Ladies]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Marty]
        Like does he have a car?

        [Everyone]
        Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh

        [Danny]
        She swam by me, she got a cramp

        [Sandy]
        He ran by me, got my suit damp

        [Danny]
        I saved her life, she nearly drowned

        [Sandy]
        He showed off, splashing around

        [Both]
        Summer sun, something’s begun, but uh-oh those summer nights

        [Everyone]
        Uh well-a well-a well-a huh

        [Pink Ladies]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Frenchy]
        Was it love at first sight?

        [Thunderbirds]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Kenickie]
        Did she put up a fight?

        [Everyone]
        Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh

        [Danny]
        Took her bowling in the arcade

        [Sandy]
        We went strolling, drank lemonade

        [Danny]
        We made out under the dock

        [Sandy]
        We stayed out ’till ten o’clock

        [Both]
        Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, but uh-oh those summer nights

        [Everyone]
        Uh well-a well-a well-a huh

        [Thunderbirds]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Putzie]
        But you don’t gotta brag

        [Pink Ladies]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Rizzo]
        Cos he sounds like a drag

        [Everyone]
        shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop,shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, YEH

        [Sandy]
        He got friendly, holding my hand

        [Danny]
        While she got friendly down in the sand

        [Sandy]
        He was sweet, just turned eighteen

        [Danny]
        Well she was good you know what I mean

        [Everyone]
        Woah!

        [Both]
        Summer heat, boy and girl meet, but uh-oh those summer nights

        [Everyone]
        woo, woo, woo

        [Pink Ladies]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [ Jan]
        How much dough did he spend?

        [Thunderbirds]
        Tell me more, tell me more

        [Sonny]
        Could she get me a friend?

        [Sandy]
        It turned colder – that’s where it ends

        [Danny]
        So I told her we’d still be friends

        [Sandy]
        Then we made our true love vow

        [Danny]
        Wonder what she’s doing now

        [Both]
        Summer dreams ripped at the seams,
        bu-ut oh, those su-ummer nights….

        [Everyone]
        Tell me more, tell me more!