We all love Jeeves.
Obviously, no one is legally permitted to fail to admire someone publicly approved of by Stephen Fry, but this is more than that: we love him. Jeeves is the superhero without an ego; the unfailing saviour of the situation; the grown-up we all long to have hovering thoughtfully in the background, so that we can continue being children-in-adult-form, a la Bertie.
"You'd better consult Jeeves," I said.
"A hot and by not means unripe idea! Where is he?"
"Gone back to the kitchen, I suppose."
"I'll smite the good old bell, shall I? Yes? No?"
Jeeves poured silently in.
"Oh I say, Jeeves," began Cyril, "I just wanted to have a syllable or two with you. It's this way…"
It should have been obvious to me long ago, but I'm afraid I've only just realised:
Jeeves is Jesus.
Think about it! He is the king of servants – the Servant King; he is the selfless righter of wrongs; he is the all-knowing encyclopaedia; he arrives when needed, saves the day, then shimmers off to do something we don't need to know about behind the scenes. 'Jeeves,' as Bertie often remarked, 'You stand alone!'
But let me correct myself. When I say Jeeves is Jesus, I'm not saying that he is actually the Real Jesus or even a allegorical reflection of Him. No. Jeeves is the fake Jesus – the one the Christians believe in.
This is the Jesus who will find me a parking space but not step in to provide food for starving refugees; the Jesus who will grace my job application with a supernatural anointing but doesn't care too much what I do with the salary. This is the Jesus whose world revolves around me: answering my pleas, sorting out my problems, then bringing me a whisky-and-soda.
Christians have been very attached to this Jesus for such a long while because that's what we wish He was like – the fairy godmother, the genie in the lamp, Father Christmas – and it's often the process of discovering that He's not really like that which makes us lose our faith. Rather than the long, often-lonely pilgrimage to wherever-it-is that the Real Jesus has got to, we prefer to stick to our domesticated God, who will fetch and carry and recommend the correct tweed sports jacket for the occasion.
How many of my prayers are really requests for a butler to come along and do it for me? How much of my worship is in response to the times when He has? How much of my life is lived as if God Almighty is my employee, rather than I his?
Jeeves has been my Jesus for too long.