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Justice and Worship

Reflect, lament, pray, and incorporate God's ongoing narrative of justice for the vulnerable into your devotional life and congregational worship services.

A Prayer for Love in the Face of Violence

This is an updated version to reflect recent events.

If you’re struggling to know what to say, and how to say it, when addressing the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the shootings of Dallas police officers (Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa) in personal prayer or during Sunday worship, consider using this summary and prayer:

Wrongs to Rights

Nearly 50 authors have contributed to a new, challenging collection of reflections on how churches can engage in this framework of reconciliation. If you are somehow troubled by that history, curious about how Indigenous Christians think about this history and future, or believe it is your personal, Christian, or civic responsibility to work for reconciliation with the peoples who lived in the land before European settlers arrived, you will find in this volume thoughtful, committed contributions from church people on Indigenous rights, the role of the state and the church, what the scriptures say, relationships with the land and the church, and living into our responsibilities together.

Live Justly for Lent: for Middle School Students

An Open Letter to My Students: 

Dear 7th Graders,

It’s a privilege to get to spend everyday with you. You have such incredible hearts. You have a way of seeing things around you that are broken, unfair, or just not the way that God envisioned it, and feeling rightly frustrated about it. You have a keen sense of justice.

Live Justly for Lent: for Busy Parents

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”   - John Chrysostom     

I have three children. I work full-time. I volunteer in several ministries at my church. I am busy. Busy. Busy. Busy. But I also know that as a Christian, I am called to make mercy and justice, advocacy and generosity, a way of life.

Immigration Preaching Challenge Winner

The judges have picked the winner of the Immigration Preaching Challenge!

This summer, North American pastors received an invitation to submit sermons relating to the topic of immigration. Many pastors accepted the challenge and submitted their sermons. After reviewing the sermons, our panel of judges picked the winner this week. Congratulations Mike Vanhofwegen on winning the Immigration Preaching Challenge! You can read Mike Vanhofwegen’s sermon at the end of this post.

Worship Resources for Peace in a Time of Fear

In response to the San Bernardino shooting and increasingly hostile anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Office of Race Relations and Office of Social Justice have collaborated on this litany and prayer. The litany is drawn from the Christian Reformed Church’s three confessions, the Contemporary Testimony (Our World Belongs to God), and one Ecumenical Faith Declaration (Belhar Confession).

Litany

People of God, from where does your hope come this day?

Advent Activities for the Refugee Crisis

I want to prepare for this advent season. I want to remember why I am a Christian. I want to recognize Christ in the suffering and the marginalized.

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Prayers for Paris...and Beirut...and Baghdad

I stayed up late last night reading every snippet of information I could on the attack on Paris. I watched the death toll number rise. Finally, begrudgingly, I rose off the couch and headed to bed. I awoke to see the number higher still. And it climbs yet today. And my heart breaks for Paris. 

Immigration Preaching Challenge Finalists

This summer, North American pastors received an invitation to submit sermons related to the topic of immigration. Many pastors accepted the challenge and submitted their sermons, and we have now chosen nine finalists!

Our panel of judges is currently reviewing the sermons and will announce the winner soon. Stay tuned for our announcement of the winner!

Jesus Work

When explaining the ministry of Humanity for Prisoners in many of my public presentations, I refer to our daily advocacy as “Jesus Work.” 

I know that, in the minds of many people, the thought response is something like this: “Just another soft-hearted, liberal, ‘do-gooder’ who wants to empty all the prisons and put all the hardened criminals on the street.”

I contend that the phrase “Jesus work” is accurate, based on his own words and his own life.

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