Priestess of Min, The god of fertility
Thebes ?, Egypt around 1400-1350 B.-C.
« The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else »
(Acts 17, 24-25)
The observation of the Cosmos, the natural cycles of the seasons and the mystery of sexuality form the symbolical basis on which the Egyptian religion, as many others, builds up its myths. The Nile and its yearly floods hold an important place. As, through the Nile, the gods offer life, they are given offerings in return, thus ensuring the continuity of the natural cycles.
And as the floods cover up the lands before new life appears, man shall go through death to a new life. In the Egyptian polytheism, Min (sometimes associated to the god Amon) is the god of fertility and reproduction.
READING THE STATUE
Let us contemplate this small statue, so graceful and elegant. It tells us about the religious environment which surrounded this high personality. In its left hand, it is holding a pearl necklace called Menat, both a symbol of fecundity and a music instrument to praise Min. This necklace was the goddess Hathor’s attribute and was mainly used in funerals: they used to make the deceased touch it to confer immortality.
The inscriptions confirm the funerary nature of this statuette. They are prayers of offerings to Osiris, Isis and the gods that belonged to the Occident (the place of the dead). These offerings (food and flowers) are represented on the front part of the pedestal. Touy thus asks the gods to be allowed to go through death and ahead to the other world. So it half-steps forward.
The biblical faith arises from these great mythical religions such as the Egyptian one, from which it derives numerous symbols and texts. But it transforms them radically. It does no longer consist in obeying an unchanging cosmic and social order but in experiencing one God different from Nature and from the Cosmos, an all different God.
We have no other access to God than by the representations we build and the feelings we experience. But, for all that, we cannot reduce Him to being an answer to our needs. For the Christian, God appears in the surpassing of one’s desire. He comes out in the unexpected. With Jesus, man discovers that His accomplishment goes beyond one’s natural and spontaneous expectation.
Have I already experienced some expectation fulfilled far beyond my wishes that has even surprised me completely or been the opposite of what I had imagined? May such an experience have transformed me? And What if I saw in it God’s invitation not to shut myself in my expectations and my pre-established conceptions, but to open out trustfully to His outstanding presence in my life?