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Justice Prayers - December 2nd

This week we light the first candle of Advent, the hope candle.  "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13

Thousands of Eritrean refugees have run out of food

The United Nations has appealed for urgent access to the region to provide emergency assistance. Communications and aid access have been blocked since the conflict between the federal army and fighters loyal to Tigray leadership began a month ago.

Nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees are in Tigray. They fled political persecution and compulsory military service. A lot of focus has been on the tens of thousands who have fled to Sudan from Tigray during the fighting, but there is also concern about these Eritreans. The UN also said it was "alarmed" at unconfirmed reports of attacks and abductions and at the refugee camps.

God, for these people, created in your image, known and loved by you, we join our hearts in desperate prayer. We pray for change, Lord. For relief. For help to come swiftly, and for decisions to be made which will save the greatest number of lives. We pray for an end to this conflict, and for the possibility of peace to return.

Climate Goals Within Reach 

A new analysis suggests the goals of the United Nations Paris climate agreement are getting "within reach." The Climate Action Tracker group looked at new climate promises from China and other nations, along with the carbon plans of United States President-elect Joe Biden. These commitments would mean the rise in world temperatures could be held to 2.1C by the end of this century. Previous estimates indicated up to 3C of heating, with disastrous impacts. But the experts are worried the long-term optimism is not matched by short-term plans to cut CO2.

God, for leaders who have power to determine what our shared future may be, we offer our prayers for wisdom, compassion, and courage. We pray for integrity in their commitments. We pray, Lord, for hope in the fight to curb climate change. 

World AIDS Day

On December 1, the World Health Organization is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID-19 and beyond, and to ensure continued provision of HIV services for children, adolescents, and populations most at risk for the disease. Protecting people from HIV during the pandemic, and ensuring they can maintain treatment, is critical. WHO and partners sounded the alarm earlier this year, concerned at the impact of reported disruptions in service delivery of drugs used to treat HIV, but happily the number of countries reporting disruptions in HIV services has declined by almost 75% since June. 

God, for those whose lives are sustained by anti-retroviral drugs, for those who are vulnerable to contracting the disease, for those who have worked tirelessly to educate, provide medical care, and support those living with HIV and AIDS, we offer our prayers. We pray, God, for an end to this pandemic which the world has lived with for four decades now.

Indigenous People and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling

The Gwich'in are once again facing down a threat to their way of life, as outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump makes a late-game effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration before he leaves office. The refuge, known as ANWR, is just inside Alaska's border with Yukon. It is a vast, pristine area of wilderness. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates there each spring from The Northwest Territories, Yukon and other parts of Alaska to calve on its coastal plain over the summer. But the refuge also sits on top of an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil. Indigenous and conservation groups argue that opening the area to energy exploration would have a significant, negative impact on the herd. Dana Tizya-Tramm, the chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Yukon, said the survival of the Porcupine caribou is linked to the survival of his nation, its culture and identity.

God, we give thanks for pristine wilderness, for Porcupine caribou, for the world you created. We give thanks for the Gwich’in people, and for the courage of their leaders. We lament the ways that history has robbed Indigenous people of their dignity, their livelihoods, and their ability to survive — and we lament the ways that this has planted racism in North American culture and life — from centuries ago all the way to today. We pray for those in power to use their positions for the common good.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

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