Back to Top

Justice Prayers - June 30th 2021

“Watch them come! They’ll come weeping for joy as I take their hands and lead them, Lead them to fresh flowing brooks, lead them along smooth, uncluttered paths." -Jeremiah 31:9 MSG

One Thousand Dreams Project Hands Over Storytelling Reigns to Refugees

Often the subject of storytelling, and rarely the storyteller themselves, the tables have turned with One Thousand Dreams, a project of remarkable ambition and scale that launched last week. This online platform is a curation of stories and photographic portraits of refugees, by refugees. So far, nearly 700 interviews and pictures have been captured, with a goal to collect 1,000. The photographer who decided to hand the camera over to refugees themselves, Robin Hammond, has said that the project is designed to offer an alternative narrative he’s found in the decades he’s traveled as a journalist that refugees are an invading hoard threatening local identities, burdening social services, or are merely helpless victims. The One Thousand Dreams Project is available online to learn more about the individual and communal stories of resilience permeating across the globe.

God, the great author of the holy scriptures, you are a storyteller who curates the narratives of our lives and the grand mysteries of the universe. You have made us co-creators in this life, and we give thanks when your beloved children live into the fullness of who you’ve created them to be! We delight, we rejoice, we weep, and we’re challenged by the stories of our refugee neighbors, and Lord, we pray for a future free from the need to flee violence, persecution, and economic hardship. 

Dispossessed from Their Land, Again, Indigenous Communities Migrating Due to Climate Change 

While communities struggle to adapt to a warming and rapidly changing planet, Indigenous peoples are experiencing an environmental peril exacerbated by policies — first imposed by settlers and later the United States government — that forced them onto the country’s harshest landscapes and least desirable lands. Thus, climate change and a rapidly evolving environment is making already undesirable land for the inhabitants. In the Pacific Northwest, coastal erosion and storms are slowly eroding tribal land, forcing communities to try to move inland. In the Southwest, severe drought means the Navajo Nation - making up parts of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico - is running out of drinking water. At the edge of the Ozarks, heirloom crops are becoming harder to grow, threatening to disconnect the Cherokee people from their ancestral foodways.

Your prophets of the Old Testament, O Lord, warn against committing acts of unrighteousness and the justice you’ll enact to make things right. God, there is indeed a reckoning coming; we pray for justice in the lives of Indigenous peoples in this country and across the globe, and for justice for the lands they call home. We denounce each and every way that waterways and landscapes are degraded in the name of economic opportunity, or ‘jobs’, at the expense of the flourishing of our neighbors and our planet.

Churches Burned to Ground in B.C.; Questions Raised About Connection to Unmarked Graves; Indigenous Communities Seek Reckoning

Two more Catholic churches on reserves in British Columbia's southern Interior burned down over the weekend, coming on the heels of Sacred Heart Church and St. Gregory's Church in South Okanagan, B.C. burning earlier last week. There have yet to be any arrests, though law enforcement is investigating all possible causes, leading some wondering whether there is cause to believe a connection exists between the acts of arson and recent revelations about unmarked graves at residential sc. The community and nation at large is still grappling with the news from last month that a preliminary scan uncovered the remains of as many as 215 children buried at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., as well as the Cowessess First Nation who said a preliminary scan discovered 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, previously told reporters that there are many with an intense disdain for residential schools and the trauma they inflicted through cultural erasure and forced assimilation. 

For the communities having lost their parishes, we intercede on their behalf and pray for a healing balm over their wounds having experienced this loss. We pray for answers to why these fires continue, and Lord, we pray for all those inextricably pained by the news story after news story revealing the lives lost to residential schools upon children. God of healing, we pray for the end to all patterns of  erasure, and all those who wish to silence the harms inflicted upon those lost to violence.

With U.S. Troop Withdrawal Looming, Afghan Families Flee as Violence Increases

Roughly 5,000 Afghan families have fled their homes in the northern city of Kunduz after days of fighting between Taliban fighters and government forces, officials this past weekend, as the deadline looms for US-led troops to withdraw. The Taliban has taken control of dozens of districts since US-led NATO foreign forces started their final withdrawal in May. The Afghan group, which has been waging an armed rebellion since it was toppled from power in a 2001 US-led invasion, continues to surround Kunduz city. Reports highlight how families have been forced to navigate off-the-path routes littered with landmines and checkpoints, and for those who have stayed, at least for the time being, are caught in the middle of sporadic clashes between the Taliban and government forces. This comes days after President Joe Biden met with Afghan leaders at the White House reiterating support for Afghanistan amidst this struggle, all amidst a U.S. effort to settle Afghani’s who supported U.S. troops during the conflict back in the United States. 

After nearly two decades of war - and the discovery that U.S. military veteran suicides are 4x higher than combat deaths - we are tired and weary of the violence and instability ravaging Afghanistan, the U.S., and the rest of the globe. We pray for the Afghan families left in limbo, fleeing violence, and sitting amidst a clouded future. For democratic processes, for peace, for a brighter future, we pray, O God of light. 

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Christian Climate Observers Program 

As an emerging leader and person of faith, the Christian Climate Observers Program (CCOP) is your opportunity to engage global leaders on climate change.  Happening covid-dependant in November 2021 you need to apply by August 1st.  

Indigenous Rights - Gratitude for Bill C-15

Recently your representatives passed Bill C-15 and it has received royal assent.  This is good news as Bill C-15 provides a significant framework for a reset in the working relationships between  Indigenous nations and communities and the Canadian state.​  Please send representatives this expression of thankfulness along with the reminder that we will continue to watch and advocate for the implementation of this legislation.  


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.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.