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Justice Prayers - May 1

We bring our prayers to Creator God, who both "takes up our pain and bears our suffering" and will "let justice roll down like a river."


Violence in Worship Spaces -- San Diego and Burkina Faso Mourning

Worshipers stretching the globe are mourning after violence over the weekend that killed people during services. Near San Diego, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire inside a synagogue as worshipers gathered. The sheriff said a girl and two men, including the rabbi, were wounded as the Jewish congregation gathered for Passover. And in Burkina Faso, gunmen opened fire on a church, killing at least six people, including the pastor and two of his sons.

How long, O Lord? We grieve that these headlines feel common -- that people gathering for prayer and praise wind up victims of violence. We pray for wisdom for leaders who, more and more, consider security questions they have not had to face before. We pray for safety, that people might be able to gather freely as communities of faith. We pray that we might root out the seeds of violence that exist in our own hearts, our own congregations, our own local and wider communities: search us, O God, convict us of sin, and transform us to live for you.


‘Operación Libertad’ under Way as Guaidó Leads Coup

On Tuesday morning Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaidó announced the start of Operación Libertad, a coup to oust Nicolas Maduro from leadership. Guaidó posted a video early Tuesday morning flanked by armed forces announcing that they would be “starting the final phases” of their coup. Citizens, including all the national assembly members, have begun marching in the streets and waving Venezuelan flags in support of Guaidó. Gunshots were heard at a rally led by Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó outside a Caracas air base. Reuters witnesses said men in military uniform, who were accompanying Guaidó at the scene, were exchanging fire with soldiers acting in support of Maduro.

God of mercy, we pray fervently for those in Caracas and throughout Venezuela living through political upheaval and an uncertain future. And Lord, we ask for political leaders that are honest, representative, and pursue peace and justice. Bind up the hands of those who wish to do harm, and in big and little ways, may your Kingdom come in Venezuela.

Report Highlights Torture, Rape in Alabama Prisons

An extraordinary rise in violence and sexual assaults has occurred in Alabama's prisons over the past five years. Photographs, which this month appeared in an unmarked envelope at a local news station (and were authenticated by prison staff), provide a window into violence that state officials have long shielded from public view. The U.S. Justice Department sent a letter to Alabama’s governor, detailing 25 immediate reform measures that Alabama must prioritize to rein in this violence as well as reported drug trafficking. The remedies would address the root causes of prison violence: management deficiencies, inadequate investigations, absence of internal classification systems for housing prisoners, severe staffing shortages, absence of rehabilitative programming, failure to intervene in drug trafficking, and failure to treat a drug epidemic that is out of control.

God, for the Alabama governor and other leaders we pray. Bring courage, funding, and the will to make lasting reforms. For prisoners at St. Clair Correctional Facility, and wherever incarceration guarantees violence and trauma, we pray for hope that comes with justice. We are taught to “remember the prisoner,” and we lament the ways that mass incarceration allows us to simply forget those created in your image who suffer in prison today. Help us to be advocates for human dignity and restoration instead of cruelty.


Thousands Evacuated Due to Flooding in Three Canadian Provinces

Thousands of people across the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick are facing several more days of flooding. The most dire situation is in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, a suburb west of Montreal that was overwhelmed Saturday night after the Lake of Two Mountains burst through a natural dike. More than 5,000 residents grabbed what they could and fled as water filled their streets and homes. Another 1,500 people were evacuated from their homes the following day. The Red Cross will be allocated $1 million to ensure evacuees' immediate needs are met. The fact that two so-called hundred-year floods occurred so close together has climate-preparedness experts concerned.

God, for all who are afraid, who are without a plan, whose lives are precarious because of this flooding, we offer our prayers. We pray for leadership in Canada and throughout the world that will address the need for more preparedness in the face of such all-too-common disasters. We pray for leadership that will address climate change as a critical policy priority.


Do Justice Blog: The Power of the Body of Christ Against the Misuse of Power

“The Body of Christ loses effectiveness and power when the voices of the ‘other’ are excluded,” writes Viviana Cornejo, CRC Office of Race Relations. Read Cornejo’s full reflection on the nearly 20-year dictatorship in Chile and the church’s call to be a prophetic voice of justice and peace.

Action Alert: Support Refugee Welcome in Canada!

Since 1979, Christian Reformed churches in Canada have welcomed an estimated 7,500 privately sponsored refugees through World Renew. Forty years of refugee welcome! Today the need to respond to our global neighbors who are fleeing for their lives is greater than ever. Let’s mark 40 years of refugee welcome by recommitting to the biblical call to “welcome the stranger.


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