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Justice Prayers - December 1st 2021

"The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord." - Henri Nouwen.

Sudan Security Forces Fire Tear Gas at Khartoum Protesters

A rally on Tuesday in opposition to military rule turned chaotic after Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters near the presidential palace in the capital, Khartoum. Additionally, armored vehicles had been positioned to prevent the crowds from reaching the presidential palace. On October 25, Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolved the country’s transitional government as security forces detained dozens of politicians, including civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. However, after international condemnation and mass protests, al-Burhan reinstated Hamdok in a November 21 deal that was slammed by the country’s pro-democracy movement that was against the military’s involvement in politics. Western powers have condemned last month’s takeover and suspended economic assistance to Sudan, which has been trying to recover from a deep economic crisis.

For all those who long for freedom and a say in their future, we pray. For those who long for citizen-rule, who long for peace, we pray. God of mercy and peace, we pray for our neighbors in Khartoum and pray a blessing of peace upon them.

Omicron Risk ‘Very High’, Says WHO; President Biden ‘Cause for Concern, Not Panic’

The World Health Organization warned on Monday that the global risk posed by the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was “very high.” And despite significant questions about the variant’s possible effects, countries around the world rushed to defend against its spread, with a cascade of border closures and travel restrictions that recalled the earliest days of the pandemic. The agency warned that the variant’s “high number of mutations” — including up to 32 variations in the spike protein — meant that “there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences.” President Biden sought to reassure the nation on Monday about the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus as crucial questions about it remain, telling Americans that the variant is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” and that his administration was working with vaccine manufacturers to modify vaccines and booster shots should that prove necessary. The new variant has yet to be detected in the United States as of Tuesday, though several cases have been reported in Canada.

For ‘yet another variant’, we pray. For the apathetic, for the weary, for the exhausted, and for the nervous, we ask your guidance. Empower our leaders and our communities to be proactive, to continue to protect each other - or for the first time - and let this variant pass us by. Let our masks, and vaccines, and love of neighbor carry us through.

Iran and World Powers Resume Vienna Talks to Restore Nuclear Deal

Iran and the world powers party to its 2015 nuclear deal - such as China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom - have begun long-awaited talks in Vienna to restore the pact, which the United States abandoned three years ago. Messages were relayed to American representatives as Iran again refused to hold direct talks since the US is no longer a member of the accord. The talks are a continuation of six rounds of talks that paused in June to allow Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi to form his administration. If successful, the talks will lift unilateral US sanctions while scaling back Iran’s nuclear program. Differences in the two countries’ stances heading into the discussions cast doubt on the odds of success, and are expected to prolong the talks.

God, we pray that when these talks wrap up, we might be able to say we live in a world less tilted towards violence and self-destruction. We pray for a world without any nuclear weapons, nor a desire to harm our neighbor. Move us towards peace, O Lord, each and every day.


Toronto Ahead of Emissions Reduction Target, Sets More Ambitious Goal

The city of Toronto says it's on course to exceed its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.The city says its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 38 percent lower when compared with 1990, which far exceeds their target for a 30 per cent reduction by 2020. Now, Mayor John Tory wants the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero 10 years earlier than planned, making it one of only three big cities in North America to aim for that milestone by 2040. Last week, Tory announced the strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2025, a step toward a 65 percent reduction by 2030. "This net-zero strategy represents an important step forward in the good and responsible work we are doing to address climate change as a city government. I am focused on greener buildings, greener vehicles, and a greener transit system," Tory said in a news release.

O God of all creation, we give thanks. For leaders who set bold, ambitious goals, we give thanks. For engineers, tree planters, technicians, and planners who made this achievement possible, we give thanks. May Toronto continue to strive towards ecological balance and health, and may each of our homes - wherever we find ourselves - do likewise.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

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Inspiring Gifts 

The past year and a half have been hard ones for many of us. We’ve had to adapt how we work, worship, and interact with each other.  Yet, through it all, God has continued to use you, your congregation, and the ministries of the Christian Reformed Church for his kingdom work. Watch some inspiring examples of the types of ministry that has remained possible throughout COVID-19 thanks to ministry shares and the covenant relationship we have as a CRCNA denomination. As you watch them, consider being an inspiration to others by giving an additional gift that can extend these ministries even further. Thank you.

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