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Photo by Andy Hares

ST Imulus: Friday Drinks

Stimulus —

TGIF (with a nod in the direction of the Throne Room, because it was the Boss who created Fridays in the first place); it sure has been quite a week.[1]

So we bloke-Saints are more than happy to gather for our traditional Friday drinks. (“Yesterday, today, forever, some things never change,” sings Saint Mary in her latest release). We do invite the she-Saints, honest, but today they’re elsewhere doing a meaningfulness seminar.

Most of the usuals are here. Over in the Joseph corner, we have Saint Joseph of Egypt, he of the multi-hued designer dream raiment and doubling up as barman today. In preparation for the arrival of the Saints, he is wiping down the bar with his new Let Us Spray cleaner. Scattered along the bar itself are several bottles of hand sanitiser, another completely superfluous product introduced by some of our most recent arrivals (it clearly did them no good down there, so why try it here?) Saint Joseph’s main role here is to oversee the seven-year food supply cycles. It seems his major contribution at drinks time is to share his latest dream (for real, he’s still doing it!)

Then there’s Saint Joseph of Arimathea, Patron Saint of sepulchres, funeral directors, and the Rolling Stones. As you can imagine, since that COVID thing hit down-under, he’s been one of our busier team members. Never misses Friday drinks—first to arrive, last to leave. (As a result of which he doesn’t work weekends).

Our third Joseph is, of course, the one from Nazareth, JC’s step-dad. He’s well respected here (in fact, everybody is, any attitude of disrespect was abolished when we left our pre-eternal lives). Saint Joseph is always building things, and because of the shortage of moths and rust that doth corrupt—and other formerly pestish things—his stuff lasts forever.

Saint Paul (deputy barman for the evening), welcomed the lads in ye olde English (as he was wont). “Drink ye not disinfectant as did suggest the blower of the trump,” he tells us. “Neither shouldst thou drink excessive water. But use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.”

Saint Timothy, although of a younger generation, had acquired considerable respect for the old guy, and had taken Saint Paul’s admonition seriously way back. Saint Timothy does, however, overlook Saint Paul’s strategic adjective ‘little’, and orders yet another bottle of his latest favoured vintage. It’s a classy Pinot Noir creatively named 27 Seconds whose profits go towards fighting slavery—and Saint Timothy has had a few things to say about slaves and slavery in his time.

“Saint Thomas—is he coming?” asks Saint Kuriakose (go on, look that one up!) of India.

“I doubt it,” responds Saint Judas (the Other One). “When I invited him, he said, ‘what’s the point,the important Ones won’t be here.’”

I enquire after Saint Christopher.

“Sorry,” Saint Qoheleth, who knows plenty, tells me. “He’s gone off again on one of his Friday travelling gigs, somewhere down-under.” I think he confuses TGIF with those TGV French trains. In his role as Patron Saint of Travellers, he has specifically noted that during the time of COVID there has been a marked reduction in what he calls roadkill—deaths from motor accidents. He, of course, is claiming credit for causing such safety on the roads, and for him, that’s yet another feather in his wings. It’s actually been a real encouragement for him, ever since he got downgraded by the Pope and removed from the official Saints lists back in the 1960s.

Interestingly, Saint Christopher was given some extra roles in his traveller portfolio, specifically, responsibility against a particular scourge of the traveller: pestilences. Talk about someone whose time has come!

Saint Peter told us about one person who arrived at the Gates today on the COVID express with a half-full bucket. Having seen several such bucket-bearing arrivées, Peter’s interest was piqued. Why on Earth do they think we need buckets here? After all, there’s no sand for castle-making, nor for that matter is there any bathroom cleaning required (we don’t have bathrooms). Seems she hadn’t completed her bucket list—stuff to do, places to go, adventures to have. Whatever. Eternity will offer plenty of opportunity, it is a fairly long time.

Old Saint Nicodemus (“don’t call me Old Nick!” he pleads) tells us he’s been chatting with this new Saint wearing white shoes. Back in the day, this guy was preaching about the Big G’s miracle cures of “anything, anything, EVERYTHING!” Many of his followers received their education on serious matters of faith either from him, or the telly. Anyhow, when this Pastor Head (affectionately known by some of his freer-thinking congregants as Ps Head) collected the COVID, he called on God to deliver him from the self-same evil of COVID, as he knew He would. God DID deliver him, though not in the manner which Ps Head foresaw. It was one of those heaven-bound deliveries, via a sepulchre. Back on Earth, his congregation was certainly delivered—from him.

Saint Micah reports on a range of Christian leaders down-under, most of whom seemed bedecked in purple upper raiment with inserted white neck stranglers, semi-covered by colourfully adorned dressing gowns. These mortal men (yes, they were men) pontificated on the exact, safe, reliable, and theologically perfect enactment of the various Christian rituals during lockdown. In maintaining doctrinal purity, they recognised their training and expertise in the historic traditions of, for example, assessing the number of angels able to dance on the head of a pin. (Wait till they get here, we’ll show them the pin dancing room, and they’re welcome to remain there for an eternity. We’ll also explain to them why Nero and his violin are not be found in these parts.)

As he downs his last pint (yes, we use imperial measures here, they’re more Kingdom-like than the metric ones), Saint Fred of Dagg observes, “We don't know how lucky we are.”

[1] TGIF for the uninitiated is a commonly used prayer “Thank God it’s Friday.”