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Justice Prayers - April 6, 2022

"You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it." - Ephesians 5:8-10 MSG

Civilians Killed Brutally in Bucha, Ukraine; World Watches in Horror

Dozens of bodies, some with their hands bound, were discovered in towns near the Ukrainian capital after invading Russian troops retreated from the area. Ukraine has accused Russia of carrying out the killings in towns near Kyiv, including in Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy branding Russian forces as “murderers, torturers and rapists” who were committing “genocide” in his country. While the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces, one group of nine, all in civilian clothes, were scattered around a site that residents said Russian troops used as a base. They appeared to have been killed at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs and one of those was shot in the head; another’s legs were bound. As of Monday, The United States will ask the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council

There are no prayers for peace, as there is no peace, there is only death and atrocity. God, there are people in power who can stop this madness, this inhumanity. My prayers are not enough. 

Pope Francis, at Convening of Indigenous Delegates, Apologizes, Asks for Forgiveness

Pope Francis apologized on Friday for the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in a system of Canadian boarding schools that abused Indigenous children for 100 years, and said he would travel to Canada as part of a process of healing and reconciliation. His apology comes after Canada was jolted last year by the discovery of evidence that more than 1,000 people, most of them children, were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of some of the former schools. “I feel shame — sorrow and shame — for the role” that Catholics played “in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values,” Francis said. Francis spoke during an audience at the Apostolic Palace with dozens of delegates from Canada’s three largest Indigenous groups, who had traveled to the Vatican in the hope that he would apologize to survivors in Canada. This was the first apology to the Indigenous people of Canada from a pope and was a reversal of Francis’s earlier position.

God, the process towards healing is long, and starts with honesty. We give you thanks for religious leaders willing to admit the wrongdoings of their ancestors and leaders in hope of a brighter, more just tomorrow. We pray for the seeds of apology to take root, and pray for true justice in whatever form that takes.

COVID Devastating in Poorer Counties

The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on poor and low-income communities across America is laid bare in a new report released on Monday that concludes that while the virus did not discriminate between rich and poor, society and government did.  Based on a data analysis of more than 3,000 counties across the US, it finds that people in poorer counties have died overall at almost twice the rate of those in richer counties. The report was produced by the Poor People’s Campaign in partnership with a team of economists at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) led by Jeffrey Sachs. They have number crunched statistics from more than 3,200 counties as a way of comparing the poorest 10% with the richest 10%. The authors rank US counties according to the intersection of poverty and Covid-19 death rates. Top of the list is Galax county, a small rural community in the south-west of Virginia. Its death rate per 100,000 people stands at an astonishing 1,134, compared with 299 per 100,000 nationally. Median income in the county is little more than $33,000, and almost half of the population lives below the poverty line.

God, reports like this - in their research and interviews - confirm what our hearts already tell us is likely true. We know that the poor and vulnerable were on the front lines of this pandemic, and now we know with certainty that poor and vulnerable people in out-of-the-way, forgotten communities died at significantly higher rates than other Americans. Help us re-create our world, Lord.

CDC Lifts Public Health Order That Limits Immigration

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last Friday that it would lift an emergency public health order that had restricted immigration at U.S. land borders since the beginning of the pandemic, citing “current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight Covid-19.” The order has been used to expel migrants about 1.7 million times over the past two years. The order, known as Title 42, gives officials the authority to turn away migrants at the border, including those seeking asylum. The process takes about 15 minutes, a factor that has helped the Border Patrol manage the sometimes overwhelming number of undocumented migrants gathering at the border. The policy change, which will go into effect on May 23, is expected to draw thousands more migrants to the southwestern border every day, in addition to the already high number of people who have been arriving over the past year from Latin America and across the globe. 

God, we pray for what’s to come, and the uncertainty therein. For those making the dangerous trek to the border, we pray. For communities on this side of the border, we pray. For lawmakers, advocates, and allies, we pray.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Inspire 2022

Catch us at Inspire 2022! Here’s a list of workshops we will be hosting at the event. (And that we can host anytime at your church!)

World Renew

World Renew is responding to war in the Ukraine by providing essential items for people fleeing for safety to neighboring countries. In Slovakia, we are providing temporary shelters, emergency food, and emergency non-food items such as blankets, linens, mattresses, and basic hygiene items. In Romania and Poland, we are responding with health support by supplying health packs that will be used by local health centers.  Information on how to donate is available here.

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