In last week’s post, I talked about shabti, an ancient Egyptian magical statue used to capture the shadow or essence of a god in order to control that god. As I discovered shabti, it shone a new light on my understanding of the commandment about not having graven images.
The more I thought about it, the more depth I discovered. What if a god willingly gave his essence away to his worshipers? What if he wanted the connection, the interaction that users of shabti desired?
Moreover, what if this god created the shabti that his worshipers could use to contain his essence?
As I understand shabti, for them to work well, need to be made in the image of the god whose essence is being captured.
The scriptures of my faith tradition state that God created all of humanity in his image. That each human on this planet carries a likeness of God in them innately. It’s part of the core code of being human.
These scriptures also tell me that this God wants to place his spirit in us, to live in us. In short, we become shabti.not to control God but to be one with him, to have him work through us, that his essence working in our being imbues us and our world with a transformative power. We have an ability to be like God, to incarnate him.
What if this is behind the no graven images command? What if the issue is to not waste our time creating a feeble replica when God has already provided us with the image to carry his essence and given us his essence to invigorate his image?
It amazes me to think that something so powerfully miraculous is intended to be our normal state.
And to think that each of you is this same miracle. Each person I will interact with at work has the potential to be this same miracle.
God is trying to incarnate himself everywhere in this world. If just breath in his Spirit and get filled with his essence we are part of this miracle.