Sunday, July 22, 2018
Fill A Basket for A Month
A few years ago when we were in Portland, I was captivated by a variety of colorful bowls the owners purchased during a trip to Guatemala. The tightly woven containers came in different shapes and depths. I purchased two knowing I would use them my self or for a gift.
Filling the Bowl
I was reminded of a story I read many years ago about bowls in a book by Sue Bender, Everyday Sacred - A Woman's Journey Home. Sue tells about a monk who left his home every day holding an empty begging bowl in his hands. Whatever was placed in the bowl would be his nourishment for the day.
Sue continues - "It was obvious to all who knew me that I wasn't a monk and the very idea of begging would make most of us uncomfortable. In spite of that, the image of a begging bowl reached out and grabbed my heart.
Initially I didn't know whether I was the monk or the bowl or the things that would fill the bowl or all three, but I trusted the words and the image completely."
Sue spends the rest of the book describing stories, experiences and people that filled her bowl over seven years.
My Own Bowls
Looking at the bowls I purchased from the jewelry store resting on my office floor, I considered how a bowl can teach three things about being present to God: open ready to receive and waiting to be filled.
A Project for August
Here's a project for the month of August, during this period in the liturgical year called "Ordinary."
1. Find a bowl. Maybe it's your favorite mixing bowl or your container for cereal.
2. Remember where you purchased the bowl and how you use it. If it was a gift, recall the occasion and the giver.
3. Bless the bowl. Hold the bowl in both hands. Ask God to keep your heart open like the bowl to receive whatever God might want to fill it with.
4. Invite God at the beginning of the day to fill your bowl. Ask God to keep your heart open so you are aware of how God is coming to you. Whatever you feel God leading you to include as the content in the bowl.
5. At the end of August look what filled your bowl. Examine the contents to see what comes to your heart.
A few months ago, I filled a bowl for a month with scripture, prayers, newspaper clippings and photographs. I wrote insights and perspectives I received about life from other people, books or God that I wanted to remember. If I received a letter or note during this time, these found a home in the bowl too.
Dried peonies, my favorite spring flower, rested in my bowl, its beauty amplified while it dried. Small pieces of leftover fabric from sewing projects and a church bulletin with sermon notes also filled the bowl.
I carried the bowl just about everywhere I went - resting on the passenger side of the car or going with me from room to room in my house. God speaks anywhere and anytime. The bowl helped me remember to keep my heart open, ready to receive and be filled.
Prayer: Loving and caring God, fill us to overflowing with tangible expressions of your goodness, love and challenge. Guide our reflections with what you give so we can learn more about ourselves and our lives with you. Amen.