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Justice Prayers - July 29, 2020

"Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it." - Ezra 10:4 

Facebook Canada Invests in Combatting Hate Online

Faced with a rising tide of online hate and advertiser boycotts, Facebook Canada is teaming up an Ontario university to create what it calls the Global Network Against Hate. The network will spot emerging trends in online extremism and develop strategies, policies, and tools to counter them. The move comes amidst warnings that the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming U.S. election campaign are likely to drive a wave of online hate postings in Canada and elsewhere over the coming months.

God, for those who are creating solutions to ugly problems, we pray for resilience, innovation, and hopefulness. For those who find themselves vulnerable to ideas that are hateful, we pray for protection and truth that sets them free. For the church, witnesses to the resurrection amidst a world so full of sin, we pray for courage, clarity, and purpose.

Israel and Hezbollah clash on Lebanon’s Border

Israeli forces on Monday exchanged fire with Hezbollah forces along the volatile Israeli-Lebanese border, as Israeli civilians living in the area were ordered to remain indoors amid the heaviest fighting between the bitter enemies in nearly a year. The fighting occurred in an area known as Chebaa Farms, which was taken by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and is claimed by Lebanon. Residents of southern Lebanon near the border reported Israeli shelling that continued for more than an hour. Israel was expecting an attack by Hezbollah in response to an Israeli airstrike in Syria that killed a Hezbollah militant last week. Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes in Syria in recent years, targeting what it says are Iranian weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel and Hezbollah fought to a stalemate in a month-long war in Lebanon in 2006.

God, we pray for the people of Lebanon, for the people of Syria, for the people of Israel. We pray for those who have known decades of oppression and violence in that region. We pray for the church there, the cradle of our faith. Bring sparks of hope, bring those who make peace, make a way out of now way for our brothers and sisters in faith.

U.S. Farm Workers Vulnerable to COVID, Can’t Stay Home

The coronavirus is spreading at alarming rates in California’s Central Valley. Those getting sick are essential workers — many of them Latino — who cannot stay home for financial reasons when they fall ill on the job and also have a hard time isolating in housing that can be crowded and multi-generational. Health officials and medical experts say the pattern of spread underscores the deep inequities of the coronavirus in California, which has infected Black and Latino communities and poorer regions at much higher rates than more affluent and white ones. Increased rates of coronavirus transmission have also been seen in California’s dense urban areas that are home to communities with large numbers of Latino residents who perform essential jobs like construction, manufacturing and food preparation.

God, we confess that it is easy to forget the human beings who ensure we can live our lives. The farmworkers, construction workers, manufacturers, food preparers who risk sickness every day so that economies and households and lives can continue as normal. We confess we continue to turn a blind eye to the ways racism shapes the lives of working people. Change our hearts, oh God, and help us to speak up for adequate protections, pay, and dignity for those whose humanity has been denied, and whose labor has been exploited. 

100 Days Until U.S. Leaves the Paris Agreement 

Just 24 hours after the upcoming U.S. presidential election, the U.S. plans to formally leave the Paris climate agreement. The country will then join Iran and Turkey as the only major countries not to participate. In 2015, after decades of negotiations, all 197 nations in the world agreed to voluntarily cut the heat-trapping pollution that is causing the climate crisis. It is seen by many as the minimum effort the world needs to make on cutting emissions, with the goal of keeping the world from becoming 2C hotter than before industrialization. If the U.S. withdraws, other nations may be less likely to pursue aggressive climate actions. The U.S. is the biggest historical contributor to climate change, even though it holds just 4% of the world’s population.

God, we pray for the United States, and for its role in the world when it comes to climate change. We pray for wisdom and sound leadership, for a concern for the vulnerable and actions that reflect those values. We pray for the church to increasingly find its voice in the struggle to protect vulnerable people from the impacts of a changing climate.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Work for the Climate Witness Project

The Climate Witness Project is hiring a freelance content creator.  Do you love writing and understand advocacy work?  Submit an application today!  

Support a Just and Environmentally Sustainable Recovery

As legislators work to provide relief and recovery from the coronavirus, we need solutions that better prepare for future disasters and crises by reducing health risks and addressing underlying economic, racial, and health inequities that make recovery more challenging. Urge Senators to invest in a just and environmentally sustainable recovery to rebuild our economy and create safer, healthier communities for the long term.  Take action today!


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