Sunday, 24 April 2011

Little Sermon from Easter Service

A Thought about Jesus's Divinity (Or Otherwise)

From my Easter Sunday service

Whilst the Trinity is an argument that has never convinced, I have never been wholly convinced by those who follow Jesus and yet say also he had either no divinity or none inherently different from the rest of us.

Let's base this on the historical Jesus, the one who preached, taught and healed towards a last day fulfilment of Israel where he was an agent of change to prompt God to bring this about, for him either to be transformed into the Messiah coming from clouds of glory, or someone or something else.

My method of examining divinity would be by thinking of the Avon Lady at the front door. She says, "Avon calling!"

Now, the question is, is Avon calling? Now it might be that she is self-employed on contract, or even fully employed (still a contract of course, and of course self-employment is a form of contractual employment).

The point is, she is not really Avon is she, but just, at best, an employee. An employee, or rather the job they fill, can be made redundant. So perhaps the job is 'Avon', even if the person isn't.

Yet the person employed often says "we" when referring to the firm. And you find that in modern capitalism, there is the divide between owner and employee. Even the managing director is an employee. Anyone, employee or otherwise, can be a shareholder, or owner. And who is a business or a firm, if it is not the employees involved? And the shareholder of Avon doesn't greet you saying, "Avon calling," but the employee does.

So when employed, we become representative, and in that contract of employment we take on the role of the job. Indeed we embody that role. So in this sense, when Avon comes calling, and the person at the door opens the catalogue, they are that catalogue too. Or to put it another way, the man or woman who comes to the front door, to sell brushes, is in one very important sense also a brush him or herself.

So when Jesus identified himself with the equivalent of a make-up firm, he became a "we" with the make-up firm, becoming its role and identity, because he was its agent.

This is consistent with a Reformation-style Arianism, not necessarily that Jesus Christ was God's first creation in order to create all else - in the beginning was the Word - but an Arianism that gives a special divinity of connection and association to this Jesus close to God. St Paul's view of Jesus as God's sole worker, as the agent of salvation - not trinitarian at all - is nevertheless not wholly unitarian. It did allow, however, a rapid escalation of titles given to Jesus by followers towards the trinitarian.

So I am suggesting that, just as the Avon lady is indeed to some extent Avon calling, so the follower of Jesus is saying Jesus is, to some strong extent, God calling.

Only when you say, as I do, that you are not a follower of Jesus, do you reject the identification, but even then to claim to be an agent of God, and him submitting to God in his desire to restore Israel, he stands as that agent of "we" about God and himself. Of course he was mistaken: it didn't happen, this fulfilment of Israel, and he might have assumed too much regarding a contract of employment.

Unless, of course, there was a change of mind by God, in whatever was his contract of employment, or original self-employment, or even voluntary work, and some sort of resurrection of terms and conditions took place. This would be that, although the authorities decided he should be denied even a pension, God decided to honour and extend the existing contract of employment.

No comments: