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Justice Prayers - July 31

"For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face."  - Psalm 11:7

Ontario Town Moves toward Carbon Neutrality

Eden Mills, a small town of about 350 residents in northwestern Ontario, is over 75 percent of the way toward reaching its established goal of becoming carbon neutral. The campaign began in 2007 with residents changing to LED lighting and adding green technologies to their homes, such as extra insulation, triple-glazed windows, and solar panels. Since then the community has planted over 40,000 trees and has modified the community hall with green technologies that have reduced the building’s carbon footprint by 96 percent.

God, we thank you that we are knit together into a community, and that when one group of people does something good, kind, hopeful, and just, that goodness can ripple out to others. We pray for this community and their extensive, hopeful efforts -- that the benefits would be tangible and substantial, and that the ripples would reach far and wide, inspiring other communities, even ours, to take similar steps to care for your created world.

U.S. and Guatemala Sign ‘Safe Third Country’ Asylum Deal

On Friday, July 26, the United States signed a deal with Guatemala that recognizes it as a safe third country. This means that a migrant who passes through Guatemala must first seek asylum there; if they do not, they can be returned to Guatemala. The deal, if implemented, will drastically affect the ability of migrants to seek asylum in the U.S. and may force migrants from Honduras and El Salvador to seek dangerous alternative paths to the U.S. border. Additionally, critics worry that Guatemala will not be able to provide a haven for migrants because of its own gang-violence struggles and its limited ability to process asylum claims and provide for asylum seekers.

God, we pray for an end to the heartbreaking decisions that inflict such harm on desperate asylum seekers. It feels as if the cruelty won’t end. Change the hearts of people who support such plans. Change the minds of those who dream up and implement them. Intervene, Lord, so that your church can welcome “the least of these,” our brothers and sisters, and in so doing welcome you.

Climate Crisis in Guatemala Contributes to Increased Migration to the U.S.

Since October 2018, more than 167,000 Guatemalans have fled to the U.S., partly due to the culminating effects of climate change on the country. Guatemala has been experiencing severe droughts since 2014, contributing to crop failure and what some experts deem a famine. About 840,000 people are facing extreme food shortages, and 47 percent of children are suffering from chronic malnourishment. The problem has been exasperated by deforestation, which causes farmland erosion and often contributes to floods and landslides.

God, we pray for hope. For green sprouts of new life, for the shade of trees, for fertile soil, for fresh rainfall. We pray for policies that protect the land through which you provide for us. We pray for cooperation between nations, which can help to sustain a secure future for coming generations. We pray for an end to the extreme weather and unsustainable conditions that force people to flee the homes they love.

Federal Death Penalty Resumes

On Thursday, July 25, the U.S. Attorney General announced that the federal government will resume implementing the death penalty. After only carrying out three executions since 1988, the Department of Justice has scheduled five executions for December 2019 and January 2020. Currently 62 people remain on the federal death row, while 21 states have abolished the death penalty over concerns of inhumane treatment, especially as controversy continues over the drugs used in lethal injection.

God, we know that each life is precious, made in your image. We know that even people who have committed serious crimes, who have done evil things, are known and loved by you. We know that your good news points to restoration, even in places that seem hopeless to us. So we grieve policies and powers that seek to end lives rather than to restore them to wholeness. We pray for significant changes to criminal justice that will invest in restoration rather than retribution. We pray that capital punishment might only be used with the utmost of restraint. And even then, Lord, we grieve.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Action Alert: Urge Congress to Protect Asylum Seekers and the Asylum Process

The Trump administration issued a new rule that would bar most migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. while current asylum seekers and other migrants remain in inhumane detention conditions at the southern U.S. border. Ask your members of Congress to extend hospitality to the vulnerable by protecting asylum seekers and the asylum process.

Welcome, Hope!

Hope is the newest member of our team. She joins us this week as the Justice Mobilizing and Advocacy Fellow, a one-year position with our office. Learn more about Hope!

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

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