Empty, greening, open

Because sharing my parish Lenten devotional contribution worked so well on Monday, and because I’m unprepared for my Hebrew quiz at 9am, and because this has been and is a busy, busy week (wait––and Holy Week is next week?! Isn’t that supposed to be the busy one?), and, well, because I like catching a few winks here and there… here it is: my other contribution to the parish Lenten devotional.

This means I’m now fresh out of completed posts. I’m rattling around with something about the Anglican Covenant that’s going to be out-of-date if I wait too much longer, and I have a few other ideas, and of course for Holy Week I’m compelled to have Holy-Week-themed pieces. Let’s just hope I can carve out some time for writing!

When I studied in Oregon for a semester, many of my classmates and I spent a week exploring contemplative practices together. One evening we created our own “beggar bowls,” clay pinch pots that we used during Sunday vespers services and other quiet times. The beggar bowls could be many things—a symbolic opening or emptying of oneself, a connection to “poorness of spirit,” or just something to hold on to during prayer/meditation.

I still have the beggar bowl I made during contemplative week, and tactile person that I am, I still like picking it up, cupping it in my palms—a perfect fit—and feeling it gradually warm in my hands. I find Lent an especially appropriate time for this practice, a time for emptying and opening myself to be filled with God’s grace and abundance.



It is less than elegant,
this small clay bowl
equal in volume to my two hands.

It is lumpy with my thumbprints,
and the color of April mud

on the outside. The inside is glazed
green as the Cascade-Siskyous in November.
It sets empty, cold to the touch,

but when I cup it in my hands, it warms
to my blood and I am

empty, greening, open to the sky.


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