Shake off the Dust

Anita Ruis, Feb 09, 2022, 5:24 PM
Anita Ruis National Director
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At the beginning of each new year, we set aside time as a National Vineyard Family to fast and pray. Inevitably we are impacted by the experience of collectively seeking God together.  One of the many surprising treasures that has grown up in the midst of all the challenging and painful dynamics of the COVID pandemic, is that we are now able to virtually connect in a way that was impossible to imagine just a few short years ago. We recently took advantage of this reality during our 2022 fast by meeting on zoom each morning to focus our attention on Jesus and to respond to the invitation of his Spirit together.  What a beautiful journey it was!! God in His kindness breathed life into our weary hearts and encouraged us, to not give up in our step-by-step obedience to him.

One of the key themes that bubbled up in our time together was that of "waking up and shaking off the dust". We sensed this theme had a couple of different facets. The first being that of crying out for God to arise on our behalf but there was also one of calling his church to "wake up" and "shake off the dust".

Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendour, Jerusalem, the holy city.
The ... defiled will not enter you again.
Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
Daughter Zion.
Isaiah 52:2 NIV

When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting.
If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. [Shake off the dust of your feet. RSV] Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry—but it's no concern of yours now.
Matthew 10:14 MSG

We accumulate dust in several ways. Neglect allows the layers of dust to accumulate. Just not paying attention and taking the time to move things around to get to where we need to be cleaning. Inactivity and isolation leave a settling of dust on everything. The terrain we've been traveling on really impacts the amount of dust that gets kicked up and that settles on us. Forces beyond our control can really stir the dust clouds. The strong winds of adversity and challenge. The gale force of a pandemic. Construction, renovation, including the process of deconstruction and reconstruction make a mess no matter how careful we are. There is always clean up during and at times long after the dust has eventually settled.

It is true that it has been a dusty and difficult pilgrimage for most of us over the last several years but we are in a season where we are seeing hopeful evidence of a coming spring. What does it mean for us as a Vineyard Family to shake off the dust and embrace a new season? Like spring shoots popping up through the snow, we sense God's invitation to "get ready" to surrender, and to allow His Spirit to breathe fresh life into our souls. With growing strength, we are able to echo the words of the writer of Psalm 27:13. "I remain confident of this. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
As we look forward to coming together in person this summer in Calgary, may Jesus continue to stir us awake and enable us to "shake off the dust" so that we can lean in and embrace wholeheartedly all that God has for us this year.

Grace & Peace
David & Anita