When Professor Gershon Carbuncle, D.D. and the Reverend Willoughby Trisket, two of the nation’s most respected theologians, meet to engage in the sort of feast of reason and flow of soul that characterises men of a high and noble calling, there is bound to be a certain coldness in the air. After all, have not Prof. Carbuncle’s papers on Anatolian monophysitism directly undermined the Rev. Trisket’s attempts to revive an interest in Nestorian Christology? Could the Reverend’s last sermon to the annual convocation of East Anglian vicars be seen in any other light than as a direct attack on the interpretation of Psalm 137 so vehemently advocated by Professor Carbuncle?
The meal begins in silence, with only the occasional half-hearted pleasantry to interrupt the distinctive sound of two mustachioed men angrily imbibing soup. A snide dig at the ethics of the first Nicean council made over the roast beef and potatoes leads to an incendiary remark on the sexual predilections of those in holy orders, and before long the language has descended to a level unbecoming of two men of such theological distinction. It is at this point in the proceedings that the Rev. Trisket pours his glass of claret onto his adversary’s lap, and Prof. Carbuncle knocks off the reverend’s glasses with an expertly-pitched bread roll.
After a brief metaphysical altercation, and just as he is about to pin the Reverend’s ear to the floor with a fish knife, the Professor graciously concedes on an issue concerning Genesis 1:3. The Reverend, with his free hand closing around a stainless silver candlestick, is forced to regretfully mumble assent. As the battered duo sheepishly help each other to their feet, they settle the bill and part ways with a newfound meekness, the Reverend solemnly raising an indented bowler as the Professor waves with his remaining good hand.
Their sudden rapprochement on the issue of Creation is echoed regularly throughout the land, with scholars concluding in virtual unanimity that in creating the Universe the Almighty was absolutely onto a Good Thing. In particular, peer-review committees have long applauded the decision to take a day off after six days of what was, it must be admitted, pretty intensive construction work. It had, of course, previously occurred to other gods to create their own days – with some even possessing the narcissism to name them after themselves – but none had taken the action to such inspired heights. Odin must have felt pretty silly, at that point, to have laid claim to a piece of the weekly real estate of no possible use to anyone. Frigga was doubtless perfectly livid to have her namesake reduced to a mere harbinger of the weekend; in the same way as minor celebrities who are the talk of the town when they move in to no. 24 Adenough Avenue have an unbounded resentment for the A-list couple who move in at no. 26.
It is precisely this sort of forward thinking and profound understanding of the needs of the marketplace that have assured our Lord the enduring fanbase he enjoys today. In a recent poll conducted by The Lonely Shepherd newsletter, as a part of their three-week ‘The Almighty – A Top Ten’ series, the weekend was found to be the undisputed favourite of the Lord’s achievements; followed by his work on the Resurrection and that frightfully clever solo business with the Red Sea.
It fills one with a sense of inestimable gratitude to the Powers That Be to jolt out of bed at 07:00 on a Saturday morning and to have the delicious realization slowly flood over one that one’s bed is a safe haven for at least a few hours more. The Saturday lie-in must rank among the most glorious of human discoveries. I can imagine that Chadwick and Walton may have approached such divine heights of ecstasy on the Thursday they finally managed to split the atom, but it is more likely that even this must have paled in comparison to their reactions when sleeping in on the following Saturday.
The sudden shock of discovering that it is Saturday morning is enough to startle ruthless dictators out of their blood frenzy, encourage pillagers to hold off their pillaging until further notice, and cause the most sordid and inhuman of murderers to roll over and drowsily mumble their way back to sleep. Upset consciences and tortured souls achieve a moment of quiet in the early hours of the weekend, when the sum of their troubles involves finding the snooze button on the alarm.
Unless I am mistaken you too, gentle reader, are about to go into a weekend – if not tomorrow then soon, very soon. What fun for you! Have you planned how you are going to spend it? I’m sure you have – scheduled it in merciless detail, no doubt. I have always envied you that singular determination and drive you display, dear reader, when it comes to revision time. Not for you the endless procrastinatory pacing, accompanied by a sudden desire to wash dishes or scrub floors. You can revel in the weekend as the first-class coach of a weekly train, and not merely treat it as a buffer between adjacent carriages.
Your exams, I am sure, will pass you by as the idle wind which you respect not, but weekends will remain as a lasting hebdomedary monument to one of the Lord’s more insightful moments. Enjoy them while you can – you never know how long it’ll be till they next come around.