Thursday, April 13, 2017

Poured Out - by Eleanor Shepherd

This is Maundy Thursday and many Christians mark this day as part of the Passion of Christ by remembering Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.  The Bible tells us how He poured the water into a basin and went around to each of His disciples, washed their feet and dried them with a towel.  This has always been one of the most powerful pictures for me of the Leadership style of Jesus and something that I would like to imitate. It also connects with a part of my own story.
                I have recounted to many people how a few years after our son John’s accident that rendered him a quadriplegic, Glen and I were leading a church service in one of our congregations in Ontario.  That Sunday morning, before the service began, the worship team sang a song about the potter.  It talked about how he remade the clay pot into the vessel that he desired it to be. It was that day that I realized that all that many of the things that I experienced as a result of John’s accident were the actions of Jesus as the potter, refashioning the clay pot of my life into the kind of vessel He wanted me to be.  

                The image of the potter was one that was familiar to me and I had always thought that what the Lord was making of my life was some kind of vase.  However, as I reflected on my experiences during this troubled time, I realized that my reshaping by the divine potter was turning that vase into a pitcher. He was refashioning the top of the vase and forming it into a lip useful for pouring.  I knew that for many years, He had continually been pouring His love into my life and somehow through my sharing with others this new journey, I was going to be able to pour that love into their lives. 
                One of my dear friends, who heard me tell this story, gave me a jug and basin that she had found and chose for me for as a special gift.  Whenever I look at that lovely set, it reminds me of the love God continues to pour into my life so I can pour it into the lives of others.  
                When I left Opportunity International, my parting gift from my colleagues there was pottery – a pitcher and basin to encourage me to keep on pouring out God’s love, as I had shared my story with them also.  
                In the daily grind, it is easy for us to forget these important reminders of our calling, until again the Lord sends someone to remind us.  That happened for me again recently when I celebrated a significant birthday.  My daughter had a book made up with photos and letters from people who she thought might want to honour me.  In a sense, I am reluctant to share this, in that it can sound like I am boasting and I do not want to do that, but for me it was another reminder of what God has called me to do, with the empowerment of His Spirit.  

                In her contribution to the book, one of my friends spoke of the appropriateness of my maiden name – Pitcher.  Her comment was, “Now that I have known Eleanor for five years and have seen her in her various roles – among them pastor, writer, mother, wife, grandmother and friend – it strikes me that the Lord could not have chosen a better surname for her.  I have seen few people that, “pour themselves out” so wholeheartedly in word, deed and prayer.”  The kind words of my friend again remind me of the opportunities that the Lord continues to give me to follow His example and pour out the love He has poured into me. 
Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

Eleanor Shepherd from Pointe Claire, Quebec has more than 90 articles published in Canada,  France,  the U.S.A., Belgium, Switzerland and New Zealand. Thirty years with The Salvation Army in Canada and France including ministry in Africa, Europe, Haiti and the Caribbean furnished material for her Award winning book, More Questions than Answers, Sharing Faith by Listening. Eleanor works as a pastor in Montreal with The Salvaton Army.


Peter Black said...

Thank you for this beautiful meditation and testimony, Eleanor. (Lovely photos of vessels for pouring, too!) I'm glad you mentioned the part about your maiden name; how tremendously apropos to your life and ministry - and also to your post. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

How very appropriate that your maiden name was 'Pitcher.' I love that, Eleanor. Continuously being poured out. A vase can be a beautiful container for holding up and supporting, but to be poured out ... what a wonderful way to honour the Potter.

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