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Justice Prayers - July 27, 2020

So you nations, all you judges, all you kings
Come and join the work, He's restoring all things
Put your hope in the Lord!
Put your hope in the Lord!
He will lead us on the way

The Kingdom Is Coming (The Porters Gate)

Francis Begs Forgiveness for ‘Evil’ Christians Inflicted on Indigenous People

Pope Francis offered an apology to Indigenous people on their native land in Canada on Monday, a significant response to the request of many of the survivors of church-run residential schools that became gruesome centers of abuse, forced assimilation, cultural devastation and death for over a century. “I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Francis said to a large crowd of Indigenous people, some in traditional dress and headdress, in Maskwacis, Alberta,  the site of a former residential school.   The pope made his apology in a pow wow circle, a covered ring surrounding an open space used for traditional dancing and drumming circles. Around it were teepees, campfires, and booths labeled “Mental Health and Cultural Support.” He said he was “deeply sorry” for the ways in which “many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the Indigenous peoples.” “I am sorry,” he continued, to applause. “I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.”

God, we pray that the acknowledgement of wrongdoing - an evil that infiltrated land, bodies, laws, theology, and the course of history - is another step towards undoing the current impact of past harm. We pray that repentance takes root in churches in all places where displacement, violence, and erasure of Indigenous communities took place, and that the steps taken by the offending parties be towards reconciliation. 

Palestinian lawyers protest against Abbas governing by ‘decree’

Hundreds of Palestinian lawyers have held a rare street protest in the occupied West Bank against the Palestinian Authority’s “rule by decree”, condemning President Mahmoud Abbas for governing without a parliament. The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) – created under the Oslo Accords with Israel – has been inactive since 2007, meaning Abbas has led without a functioning parliament for nearly all of his tenure as president. New leadership at the Palestinian Bar Association has sought to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA). Public demonstrations against Abbas and the PA have been on the rise in the West Bank, notably following the death in Palestinian custody of activist and Abbas critic Nizar Banat last year. The top Palestinian prosecutor has accused 14 security force members of beating Banat to death.

God, we pray for representative government in all places, and for all people, but especially right now for Palestinians. We lament unjust rule. We pray for the Palestinian people and their desire to breath freely.

Ukraine Aims to ship grain this week

Ukraine has said it hopes a United Nations-brokered deal aimed at easing global food shortages by resuming grain exports from the Black Sea region would start to be implemented this week. A global wheat shortage and soaring European energy prices are some of the most far-reaching effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, threatening millions in poorer countries with hunger and prompting fears in Europe over heating supplies this winter. Russia and Ukraine signed agreements on Black Sea grain exports in Istanbul on Friday, with Turkey and the UN as co-guarantors. The officials agreed there would be no attacks on ships moving through the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait and on to markets. Global wheat prices rose sharply on Monday due to uncertainty over the grain agreement, erasing most of the falls seen on Friday when traders had anticipated an easing of supply shortages.

We await news of grain arriving in regions and communities that need it most. For some of us, the war in Ukraine has been merely ‘something to pray for’ or ‘the top story on the evening news’. For others, this war has created or deepened famine, it’s led to the rationing of food - even doing anything it takes to feed one's children. Bless this grain, O Lord, that it might come in abundance to feed your beloved.

Temperature Spikes More Pronounced in Middle East with COP27 in Egypt Looming

Temperatures in the Middle East have risen far faster than the world’s average in the past three decades. Precipitation has been decreasing, and experts predict droughts will come with greater frequency and severity. In Iraq, intensified sandstorms have repeatedly smothered cities this year, shutting down commerce and sending thousands to hospitals. Rising soil salinity in Egypt’s Nile Delta is eating away at crucial farmland. In Afghanistan, drought has helped fuel the migration of young people from their villages, searching for jobs. In recent weeks, temperatures in some parts of the region have topped 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). This year’s annual U.N. climate change conference, known as COP27, is being held in Egypt in November, throwing a spotlight on the region. A top priority at COP-27 is to push for more international funding to help them deal with the dangers they are already facing from climate change.

For the people of Basrah, Doha, Jacobabad, and so many others, we pray. For their ability to withstand the punishing effects of a warming climate, we pray. But, Lord, we pray that we not actively cause harm on others and pray for your intervention to stop that harm; that is blasphemy, that is unjust, that is sin. We pray for each of us to control, limit, and eliminate the emissions we can, and push to the point of exhaustion for our governments, institutions, and corporations to meet the moment and cease their harm of our world and its people.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Season of Creation

The Season of Creation is a time during the liturgical calendar in which churches across the globe renew their relationship with God and all of creation and commit to prayer and action for our common home. Starting on September 1 and ending on October 4—the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology—the church praises God for Creation’s beauty, focuses on their call as caretakers, and laments the brokenness and the groaning of all creation. 

FaithCARE Restorative Practices Training 

This August (August 11-12), we are excited to share two opportunities to participate in a two-day training of restorative practices for faith communities. In this training, which will be held in Grand Rapids, Mich., ministry leaders will be introduced to FaithCARE’s framework and vision for restorative congregations. Participants will learn how to design and facilitate listening circles while incorporating restorative practices to enrich interpersonal relationships, small groups, teams and congregational life.  REGISTER for this training 


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