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Justice Prayers - February 24, 2021

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. - Psalm 119:105

Palestinian Homes Destroyed

During two major incidents in recent days, Israeli forces demolished or confiscated 46 structures in a Palestinian Bedouin community, leaving 60 people, including 35 children, displaced and at risk. Many of the affected structures were donor-funded and had been provided as a response to previous mass demolitions/confiscations. Humanitarian organizations were able to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance (including tents) to the displaced families. Some of the tents were confiscated by the Israeli authorities, but eventually a humanitarian agency managed to provide tents for all in the community, including infants. Their vulnerability is compounded by inclement winter conditions and by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

God, for these suffering people whose livelihoods have been destroyed and whose futures are now tenuous and out of their control, we pray. WE pray they will be treated with dignity, and that justice would be possible. We pray for accountability, wisdom, and compassion from the leaders who have influence over their fate. We pray for the organizations risking so much to provide basic needs -- encourage them, give energy and hope.

Assisted Death in Canada

The Trudeau government has agreed with Canada’s Senate that Canadians suffering solely from grievous and incurable mental illnesses should be entitled to medical assistance in dying. The government rejected a Senate amendment that would have allowed people who fear being diagnosed with dementia or other competence-eroding conditions to make advance requests for an assisted death. If the Commons approves the government's response, the bill will go back to the Senate for a final vote.

God of life, you are part of our journey -- loving us from before we are born until after we die. We pray for Canadian leaders. Grant them wisdom, compassion, and clarity. Grant them deep reverence for life, and a deep commitment to justice. Grant them ears to hear the concerns people have about how this policy could impact those who are vulnerable. Your kingdom come, Lord.

Virginia Abolishes Death Penalty

The Commonwealth of Virginia executed more people in the last 45 years than any state other than Texas. For many years, the fees of lawyers who defended those accused of a capital crime were capped, by law, at a very low rate. This all but ensured these citizens would receive incompetent representation. When that law was changed, the number of death row inmates in Virginia fell from 50 in the 1990s to just five in 2017. The state’s governor plans to signs new legislation that the state legislature just passed, abolishing the death penalty in Virginia altogether. 

God, we remember the prisoner -- all those who are incarcerated for crimes they committed, and those who are incarcerated for crimes they did not. We give thanks for this change to Virginia’s laws, and pray that it reflect new opportunities for restoration for those who are incarcerated, for the victims of crime, for families, for whole communities. 

Migrants in Mexico are now being processed

The United States has begun processing some of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who were forced to wait in Mexico for a chance to obtain protection in the U.S. Some 28,000 asylum seekers — primarily Cubans, Hondurans, and Guatemalans — have active cases in former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which became known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. It is one of many interlocking Trump-era policies that, together, have made obtaining asylum and other humanitarian protections in the US next to impossible. On Friday, 25 of those asylum seekers were allowed to cross the US-Mexico border. In response to criticism about the slow rate of processing, leaders underscored their concerns for public health and safety, especially during COVID-19.

God, for those who have been waiting -- in desperation, violence, and vulnerability -- we pray for speedy, sensible, and humane processing. We pray for hospitality when they arrive in the U.S. Empower your church to welcome “the stranger,” as Scripture commands, and expect that each human life is replete with possibility, dignity, and image of God.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

OSJ Sunday

Thank you to everyone who participated in OSJ Sunday on February 14th (or any other day)!  We cannot do this work (including Justice Prayers) without your support.  If you weren't able to donate through your church you can donate anytime online here.

Justice and Hope Sunday 

We kicked off the Lenten season with Justice and Hope Sunday in support of the Centre for Public Dialogue.  We are so thankful for your ongoing support both financially and through advocacy.  If you missed this Sunday and you'd still like to donate you can do so online anytime!  


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