There is something about blessing
that calls forth wholeness
and imagines (in the sense of making possible)
the best we can be.
I invited participants in the Lent Email Retreat
to create an altar-table
and place upon it a blessing bowl.
I didn’t define its use.
Perhaps it holds gratitude
or prayers, or reminds of the gift of a good day.
A few people sent me a picture and story of their bowl.
I have their permission to share with you.
It was no surprise my mother, Cathy MacLean, chose a bowl with a long history. “The bowl was given to Mama when she was 13. Grandma “Dokan”, William’s grandmother called Mama to the brook and reached across the brook and handed her the bowl. It may be 100 years old, more or less, and could have come on the boat from Scotland in 1820. You may like to have it some day when my use for bowls is over!”
Kerry Howarth writes: “The small dish in the foreground with the stones around it I think you might recognize; it’s from the Church of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha. I got it when I was in the Golan Heights on peacekeeping duty in 2003. We had many holy sight trips during my six months there and this place was one of my favourites. And the stones are from the Sea of Galilee. The little lamp to the right is also from Israel.”
“This is a photo of my blessing bowl,” writes Anne Pirie
“Lent is a solitary journey; yet, this bowl reminds me of relationships and community. It was a gift from our sons and it was crafted by a local potter. I like to think that it was shaped from marsh mud. It has a painting of cattails and a bird baked into it. I use it especially when ‘company’ comes to hold bread or sweets. It also holds many memories and stories shared with family and friends around our table. I like the oval shape and it is very pleasing to hold in my two hands. I am grateful for the Prayer Bench Retreat. It encourages me to notice the sacred in ordinary things and moments.”
Jane Doull says, “I love raku. Unlike other pottery , in general raku has only ornamental purposes. I don’t use this bowl in the kitchen or serve food in it or keep things in it. One acquires it simply because it’s beautiful – one loves the colour and texture and the feel of it. Perhaps it is blessing in itself without having to do anything – except find itself used as a blessing bowl.” It is designed by Regina Coupar.
Bev Smith writes. “My bowl was a gift from a friend and co worker when I was doing Family practice Nursing. What I love about the bowl is the butterflies that speak to me of transformation, miracles, freedom and beauty all contained in the empty bowl or what appears to the eye to be empty … the Easter story. The small stone with Hope written on it was my stone from the Advent retreat practice. So bringing Advent to the Lenten journey.”
Bowls that are a blessing,
stories that bless too.