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National Benevolent Association XPLOR Program

Saturday – December 5, 2015 1 Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Luke 9: 1-2
This past August, three congregations in the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa had the privilege of welcoming three young adults, Anna, Cris, and Sarah, into our communities and into our hearts. These three young people are participants in the National Benevolent Association XPLOR Program, a program that calls young adults to simplified living, to work for justice, and to engage in vocational and spiritual discernment. In seven houses across the United States, young adults are living in community because they chose to respond by going on the adventure of discipleship as Jesus sent them from their homes, their friends, and the familiarity of how they had been doing church.   Anna, Cris, and Sarah came to the Quad Cities to work with community non-for-profits, St. Joseph’s the Workers House, Quad Cities Interfaith, and Braking Traffik, to proclaim the kingdom of God and assist in the healing of the world.

As the pastor of one of those congregations that received Anna, Cris, and Sarah, I am aware that they are not the only ones who are being sent by Jesus. We who received them are also standing on the edge of what is familiar, and comfortable. We are also responding to Jesus, as we are sent into our communities to participate in proclaiming the kingdom of God and the healing of the world as we partner with community nonprofits for the work of justice in our community and in our world. We are being called to step out of our friendships into a new territory of hospitality to both teach and learn with Anna, Cris, and Sarah, what it means to go and grow as Jesus’ disciples.

Just like the disciples in Luke 9, we are a part of the expansion of Jesus’ ministry. And just like the disciples in this passage we are learning that a natural part of the being called by Jesus is being sent by Jesus into the world to preach the kingdom and to participate in the healing of the people.

Anna, Cris and Sarah and the other residents in the XPLOR Program, three congregations in the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa and other host congregations for the XPLOR program, have said “yes” as Jesus gives us the authority and power to go, to proclaim and to heal in the name of Jesus Christ. But it does not stop there! Each disciple of Jesus is offered this same authority and this same opportunity to be sent into the world on a mission of healing and wholeness.

Today, what are you being called to do as a disciple of Jesus Christ? What is your congregation being called to do? Where do you see the need for Christ’s healing power? Where are you being sent to proclaim the kingdom of God? And how are you choosing to respond?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you stand beside us and offer us the opportunity to be your partner in the work of the kingdom. Open our hearts and give us the courage O Lord to step away from the familiar and the comfortable. To hear the cries of pain and outrage in a world that is broken and fragmented. Help us to claim our authority and go into the world as your agents of healing. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. 

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