Bowing my Head

I can’t get enough of this little thing.

Bowl with Human Feet, Predynastic Egypt, Late Naqada l–Naqada II, ca. 3900–3650 BCE. Pottery (red polished ware). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

I came across it on a favourite blogger’s site this morning – she’s doing a series for Lent. Here’s what she says about it: …“this small anthropomorphized bowl seems to be bending forward in humility. I see in it a reminder of how, on the one hand, we are to bring our selves as an offering to God, pouring out our praises and love; and on the other, how we bring our emptinesses, our lack, to God to fill.

I couldn’t put it better myself so I won’t. Check it out here: https://artandtheology.org/2022/03/04/lent-3/

I do, however, think it’s worth saying that the little praying bowl reminds me of the Orthodox Christian practice of praying the Jesus Prayer (Prayer of the Heart) with ‘the beard laid on the chest’. In other words, with the head bowed. That posture seems to encapsulate something very important about Christian meditation and contemplation that is difficult to put into words but goes something like this: I am not just looking for the inner treasure of the Christ-Self when I practice; I am also acknowledging, and bowing in reverence to, the Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (to use the Trisagion).

God is both immanent and transcendent and this little bowl puts it beautifully, in a way that makes me smile.

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