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Justice Prayers - August 5, 2020

Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.”  ― J.I. Packer

70th Anniversary of Korean War

2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950. This horrific war took over four million lives, caused unspeakable devastation and trauma, divided the Korean nation and separated millions of family members. Although a ceasefire on July 27, 1953 brought an end to active fighting, the U.S. and the two Koreas never signed a formal peace treaty declaring an end to the war, and this ongoing conflict contributes to hostilities and tensions involving the United States and the Korean peninsula. The continuing divide between South Korea and North Korea is now the longest unresolved separation of a people in modern history. We join a group of American Korean Christians who have joined together on a public statement and call to prayer and action.

God, we mourn the lives lost, the cities, towns, and land destroyed, and the families separated by the Korean War. We acknowledge our little awareness of the Korean War and its ongoing impact. We pray for leadership which is committed to bringing humanitarian aid and standing for human dignity on the Korean peninsula. We pray for an end to the Korean War, and that leaders of the United States, South Korea, North Korea, and other governments who have played a role in the conflict will begin to engage peacefully through dialogue and cooperation. We pray that someday all Korean people will be able to return to the birthplaces of their ancestors, to meet face-to-face across the peninsula, and to recognize each other as sisters, brothers and image-bearers of God.

Census in U.S.

The U.S. Census Bureau is ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on Sept. 30, a month sooner than previously announced. That includes critical door-knocking efforts and collecting responses online, over the phone and by mail. The latest updates to the bureau's plans are part of efforts to accelerate the completion of data collection by the Dec 31 deadline. These last-minute changes to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the U.S. threaten the accuracy of population numbers used to determine the distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade.

With roughly 4 out of 10 households nationwide yet to be counted, and already delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, the bureau now has less than two months left to try to reach people of color, immigrants, renters, rural residents and other members of historically undercounted groups who are not likely to fill out a census form on their own.

God, for those who will be most impacted by an inaccurate census count, we pray for effective and swift efforts to get them counted. We pray for those who are afraid of government interactions, who are unaware of the importance of the census, and who may miss out on critical services if they aren’t part of the count. For all those working so hard to ensure that the census is accurate, because of its impact on those who are underserved, we pray for creativity and energy.

Dutch Zwarte Piet

The Dutch Sinterklaas does not rely on helper elves like Santa does in North America; Sinterklaas is assisted by a character known as Zwarte Piet or Black Pete — traditionally depicted by white people wearing blackface, Afro wigs and red lipstick. After long defending the character and even admitting to painting his own face black in the past, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced in June that his views on Black Pete had changed. He also admitted that there are "systemic problems" with racism in the Netherlands. Rutte's announcement came in the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minnesota police, as large crowds of protesters took to the streets of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities to demonstrate against racial injustice.

God, we pray for the courage to face traditions and cultural habits that discriminate or dehumanize. We pray for those all over the world who deal with microaggressions or cultural practices that target them for their race. We pray for a willingness to change.

Mexico Poverty

As the coronavirus keeps surging in Mexico — where the government registers more than 400,000 confirmed cases and more than 45,000 fatalities, the world's fourth-highest death toll — families are hurting across the country. But low earners have been doubly hit: They make up the highest share of virus-related deaths and lack the funds to stay afloat as the pandemic plunges Mexico deeper into recession. Now pressure is rising on the government to improve its health response and offer financial help to those in need.

It wasn't so long ago that Mexico's poor and vulnerable were told they needn't worry about the coronavirus. The coronavirus, politicians and media commentators said, was a disease of the rich. But an estimated 12.5 million Mexicans lost their job and left the job market entirely in April when coronavirus restrictions came into effect. Economists and social advocates are concerned that inequality will be reinforced because of the pandemic, that people who are already vulnerable will suffer greater hardship and end up being even more vulnerable because of it. 

God, for those in Mexico who cannot protect themselves from the virus, who have no jobs to return to, and who will face the threat of hunger if they aren’t facing the threat of Coronavirus, we offer our prayers. We pray for good leadership, for accurate data, for decisive assistance. We pray for the church in Mexico, Lord, to be a place that offers hope and comfort, and that elevates the voices of those who suffer so that they might be heard by those in power.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Day of Justice 

On August 16, 2020 we invite all congregations to participate in CRCNA Day of Justice.  This day gives congregations the opportunity to reflect on justice and what it means for our lives. Designated by Synod 2017, this date will mark a 3rd annual denomination-wide Day of Justice and will allow us to experience unity as a denomination as we consider the meaning of Biblical justice, lament injustices in our world, and commit to the transforming work of standing alongside people whom society oppresses and pushes to the margins. Resources are avaliable here.

Do Justice Podcast

Season 1 of the Do Justice podcast is live and ready for your listening ears!  Grab your headphones and make sure you leave us a review!  Listen on your favourite platform today!

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