Back to Top

Justice Prayers - August 11, 2021

So won't you go there with me, down to the riverside
Where the water runs free
And you can let your heart swing open wide
Won't you swing it open wide? 

- Christy Nokles River of Grace

“Code Red for Humanity” - IPCC Releases Sixth Assessment Report

On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Sixth Assessment Report, and declared to the world that far more aggressive action is needed to limit catastrophic climate change, and that time is running out.  The IPCC, the United Nations’ climate science research group, concluded in a major report that it is “unequivocal” that humans have warmed the skies, waters, and lands, and that “widespread and rapid changes” have already occurred in every inhabited region across the globe. Many of these changes are irreversible within our lifetimes. The report warns that the world is likely to overshoot 1.5 degrees celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial temperatures — one of the goalposts of the Paris climate agreement — within the next 20 or 30 years, even under scenarios where greenhouse gas emissions fall significantly. It’s a stark warning for the 195 countries meeting later this year in Glasgow, Scotland for COP26, to come up with more ambitious goals for fighting climate change.

Just as the prophets of the Old Testament warned the people of God about impending calamity for their injustices and unrighteousness, may this too serve a similar purpose. May this report be the wakeup call that polluters and citizens across the globe need to turn from the harm we inflict upon the creation, and towards justice, righteousness, and environmental flourishing.

As Wildfires Rage & Temperatures Spike, IPCC Report Points to Narrow, But Possible Opportunity for Change

On the heels of the IPCC report, wildfires and heat waves across the world continue to ravage communities. Across Greece, wildfires have burned more than 263,000 hectares (650,000 acres) of land – in Evia, Athens and Lakonia - and temperatures in some parts reached 117 degrees fahrenheit for up to a week straight. The effects of extreme weather in Western Canada have been relentless. The devastation in British Columbia and the Prairies, including raging wildfires and extreme drought, are threatening lives and livelihoods. In California, as of Sunday night, the Dixie Fire had burned nearly 490,000 acres. “We can expect a significant jump in extreme weather over the next 20 or 30 years,” said Piers Forster, a climate scientist at the University of Leeds and one of hundreds of international experts who helped write the report, though the scientists are clear that an opportunity presents itself to avoid the worst potential impacts of climate change. Doing so would require a coordinated effort among countries to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by around 2050, which would entail a rapid shift away from fossil fuels starting immediately, as well as potentially removing vast amounts of carbon from the air. If that happened, global warming would likely halt and level off at around 1.5 degrees celsius. 

Hope feels as though its as fleeting as fresh air in the middle of a wild fire. It feels, God, as though we have one last chance. Stir us, in whatever way you can, to make a last stand.

While Delta Variant Rages, Global Vaccines Increase

The number of daily Covid-19 vaccine doses reached a new global high this week, with more than 60 million doses given last Wednesday—roughly double the seven-day average in the middle of July. Vaccines given throughout Asia accounted for most of the rise, according to Our World In Data, with nearly 33 million doses administered. While vaccination rates are rising worldwide, so are cases, with nearly 688,000 new ones reported Thursday, the day after the world surpassed 200 million total cases. Daily average cases have nearly doubled since June after falling from a pandemic high of 826,000 cases in late April. The U.S. averaged 141,000 cases over last week, spurred by the more infectious delta variant which now represents more than nine in 10 cases of the virus in the country.

Amidst the threat of the Delta variant, we give you thanks for vaccines that are getting into the arms of people across the globe. We pray for healthcare workers and community leaders to share sound-science, provide support, and ensure the best care for their patients and all those getting the vaccine.

As More Provincal Capitals Fall in Afghanistan, Refugee Resettlement Expanded 

Early Monday morning, it was reported that the Taliban has captured a sixth provincial capital in Afghanistan in four days. The fall of Samangan, a northern province, will put further strain on an already stretched Afghan security forces, as commandos and backup forces have been dispatched to the five other provinces whose capital have fallen. Amidst increased destablization, the Biden administration expanded its efforts to assist at-risk Afghan citizens flee Taliban violence as fighting intensifies ahead of the U.S. military pullout at the end of the month. The State Department said it is widening the scope of Afghans eligible for refugee status in United States to include current and former employees of U.S.-based news organizations, U.S.-based aid and development agencies and other relief groups that receive U.S. funding

The updates each week are deteriorating as the situation on the ground in Afghanistan becomes more and more dangerous. We pray for the rescue of any and all who can be evacuated, for mercy upon those who cannot, and for safe passage for all those crossing borders.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Disability Advocacy Journey 

Do you know someone between the ages of 18 and 30 who is passionate about disability advocacy? To find out more about the Disability Advocacy Journey, visit: Disability Advocacy Journey, Turning your Passion into Action

Hearts Exchanged

Fall cohorts of this reconciliation journey will be launching soon.  If you've been thinking about participating in a cohort in your area be sure to let us know you want to participate via our website.  

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.