Poured Out

Sep 9, 2022

Tara Mulder, Sales Manager, offers today’s blog with insights about a special series that she has created and an opportunity for you to learn more and express your creativity!

Poured Out: The story behind an art show and art workshop at the Center

The word “poured” occurs often in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. God pours out blessing, promising the Israelites in Malachi 3:10 that blessing will flow like opening a floodgate. He is extravagant as giver, provider. He poured life into Adam with his own breath. He fills our cup to overflowing, brings forth water from rocks, food from above. He pours out his Spirit, pours love into our hearts (Romans 5:5). And when it came to restoring his relationship with us, the eternal relationship that sin broke, he poured out the blood of his only son Jesus Christ.

We, his beloved, pour out as well. We pour out our hearts before him like Hannah praying for a child. We pour into each other, helping each other grow in faith. We pour ourselves out for others as God says in Isaiah 58:10, “pour out yourself for the hungry and satisfy the desires of the afflicted”.

My favorite example of God’s blessing poured out is rather literal. It’s when a widow is so deeply in debt that the creditor is threatening to take her two sons in payment, so she goes before the prophet Elisha to ask for help. The whole account is found in II Kings 4:1-7 and took place about 900 years before Christ. The prophets of Israel were spokespersons for God; going to Elisha was the same as going before God. She pours out her situation to him. Elisha asks what she has in her house, to which she replies, “Nothing, except a jar of oil.” (v. 2)

God does some of his best work with nothing. One jar filled so many borrowed vessels with oil that she earned enough money to pay her creditor and save her sons. There was also enough money left over for herself and her sons to live. With no fuss or fanfare, God provided even more than the widow needed. He rescued her from the most vulnerable situation a  woman of the time could be in, for to be without a husband and without sons meant being utterly desolate. No money, no provision, no place in the community, no hope.

Meditating on this miracle inspired me to make a series of artworks. While I’m sure the miracle was visually unremarkable, olive oil is intrinsically beautiful. Transparent and reflective, lusciously gold and green, redolent of earthy olive flesh. The image of pouring oil is where I started.

Making the art, 19 individual works and counting, has taken me deep into God’s Word and into my own creative process. It’s been like mining for gold, which is not straight down but rather down then across, then down, and so on. So it is with me producing art. It’s a gradual, meditative process. I meditate on the passage, then make art. Study key words in Hebrew, then make more art. Read more about Elisha and his teacher Elijah, then make more art.

The work will be on display here at Bon Secours Retreat & Conference Center, I’m blessed to say, September 12-25, 2022. I’m also offering a workshop called “Faith & The Creative Process” on Saturday, September 17th. We’ll be in the room where the Poured Out series is on display. My prayer is for what God has poured out into me and through me to bless creatives of all types. Participants will have time to reflect on their own process, no matter what type of creative work they do. This includes writers, musicians, and anyone who wants to consider how they produce what they do. Join us! Sign up today: https://bonsecoursrcc.org/event/new-faith-creative-process-workshop/

~Tara Mulder