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Justice Prayers - January 8 2020

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. -Ephesians 5:1-2

Australia Battles Wildfires

The outbreak of wildfires in Australia has reached a tipping point. Thousands of residents were evacuated this week, as bush fires reached the suburban fringes of Sydney, the skies turning blood-red. Coastline towns in the states of New South Wales and Victoria were consumed by the blaze, leaving thousands homeless. Many are stuck behind fire lines, trapped without power or cell service. The Associated Press reports that 12.35 million acres of land in Australia has been burned. (For comparison, the 2018 California wildfires burned less than 2 million acres.) The smoke blocking Australia's sky is visible from space. The death toll from the fires, now in their fifth month, has risen to 24. 

God, please be present in the midst of incomprehensible destruction and fear in Australia now, we pray. We pray for protection, for a way forward, for those who are at the front lines of rescue and response. We grieve, God, the loss of life -- humans and creatures and plants and all things. We worry, Lord, that this is a signal of the damage climate change has already done to our earth. Help us to change, Lord.

U.S. Census and Citizenship

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has agreed to share certain government records from its databases to help the Census Bureau produce data about the U.S. citizenship status of every person living in the country. DHS quietly announced the data-sharing agreement in a regulatory document posted on its website on Dec. 27. It marks the latest development in the Trump administration's ongoing effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. census is used to draw political boundaries, apportion state and federal funding, pay for highways and hospitals and schools, and by businesses to decide where to expand or locate new stores, among many other things.

God, we pray for those who are working hard to ensure a fair and accurate census count. We pray for the communities that will be most directly impacted by an undercounting -- those who are poor, or who rely on government services. We pray for policymakers who are working behind the scenes to impact this critical information-gathering -- guide them to act with justice and equity in their work.

Reversing the Insect Apocalypse

The world must eradicate pesticide use, prioritize nature-based farming methods, and urgently reduce water, light and noise pollution to save plummeting insect populations, according to a new “roadmap to insect recovery” compiled by experts. The call to action by more than 70 scientists from across the planet advocates immediate action on human stress factors to insects which include habitat loss and fragmentation, the climate crisis, pollution, over-harvesting and invasive species.

God, for your creatures -- great and small -- we commit to love and serve and protect. We pray that we might grow in our awareness of the impact our personal choices have on those creatures who have no voice. And we pray for a greater engagement with the collective choices that we make -- with chemicals and farming and food and policies -- so that we might steward our power in ways that reflect our commitment to take good care of the earth you created.

Congress Members Speak Out on Abortion

More than 200 members of the U.S. Congress told the Supreme Court that its landmark decisions on abortion, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, should be “reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled” in a brief they submitted to the court on Thursday. Anti-abortion group Americans United for Life organized the amicus curiae brief in support of a restrictive Louisiana abortion law that is currently under a temporary stay and slated to be considered by the Supreme Court this Spring.

God, for the decision of Supreme Court justices on this case, we pray for wisdom, discernment, and courage. For those who are considering abortion, we pray for support and community and grace. For vulnerable unborn children, we pray for protection.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is Next Week

“Together know and bear one another's burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ that we need one another and upbuild one another, admonishing and comforting one another; that we suffer with one another for the sake of righteousness.” These words from the Belhar Confession along with verses from 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 are the focus of our worship materials to help your church honor Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 19. Together, we grieve the reality that racism threatens the health and flourishing of moms and babies.  Visit for worship resources, including a prayer and a responsive reading.

Postcards to Protect Asylum-seekers

January 25 will mark the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols, better known as “Remain in Mexico,” a policy that returns asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait out the duration of their U.S. court proceedings. As we mourn a full year of this inhumane practice, we have the opportunity to advocate for change.  If interested, please contact Hope Zigterman ( at the Office of Social Justice by January 10, and we will send postcards to you or your church along with a copy of a sample message to write on the postcards.


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