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Justice Prayers - May 18, 2022

We are confident
that the light
which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth
when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Our world belongs to you.

- Our World Belongs to God (Article 6)

Mass Shooting in Buffalo

A gunman embracing a white supremacist ideology opened fire on Sunday afternoon at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, killing 10 people and wounding three more. The mass shooting was the deadliest in the United States this year. ​​The suspect, Payton S. Gendron, 18, had driven more than 200 miles to stage the attack, and he livestreamed it as he fired at shoppers and store employees. He was arrested at the store and pleaded not guilty in a brief court appearance. Around the same time, a manifesto attributed to him appeared online, repeatedly invoking the racist idea that white Americans were at risk of being replaced by people of color. The view is known as “replacement theory” and was once linked to the far-right fringe, but it has become increasingly mainstream.

For too long we have prayed for the ending of mass shootings. For too long, O Lord, we’ve prayed for the elimination of white supremacy as an animating force for violence. We turn our hearts to the victims, and pray for their families, their friends, their community.

Protests in Nigeria after arrests for ‘blasphemy’ killing of female student

Hundreds of people in Nigeria’s north-western city of Sokoto demonstrated on Saturday over the arrest of two students after the murder of a Christian student accused of blasphemy, residents said. Deborah Samuel, a student at Shehu Shagari college of education, was stoned to death on Thursday and her body burned by a mob of Muslim students of the college after she made a post on social media they deemed insulted the prophet Muhammad. Police said they made two arrests after the incident and had begun a manhunt for other suspects who appeared in footage of the murder shared on social media. Early on Saturday, Muslim youths took to the streets of the city, lighting bonfires and demanding the release of the two suspects, despite the earlier deployment of police to maintain order, residents said.

God, we are horrified at the violence that erupted in Sokoto, taking the life of a student. We pray for justice, O God, for Deborah and for the perpetrators of this horrific crime to be brought into custody. Help, Lord, ensure this violence between Christians and Muslims stops.

Shooting at Orange County Church 

A man opened fire during a lunch reception at a Southern California church on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five senior citizens before being stopped and hog-tied by parishioners in what a sheriff’s official called an act of “exceptional heroism and bravery.” Between 30 and 40 members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church were gathered for lunch after a morning church service at Geneva when gunfire erupted. The wounded victims were four Asian men, who were 66, 75, 82 and 92 years old, and an 86-year-old Asian woman, the sheriff’s department said. Authorities originally said only four of the five surviving victims had been shot. Information about the person who was killed was not immediately released.

Again and again we pray for the ending of what has no ending in sight. How many more, Lord? How long must the gun lobby, politicians, hatred, and violence have their day? For the members of this church, we pray. And we give thanks for the helpers, the heroes - the ones who did their best amidst catastrophe. 

Canada will face 'lethal heat' in a few decades, study says

A new study from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, a research facility at the University of Waterloo, projects a roasty future in Canadian cities as temperatures continue to rise. Canada is warming (on average) at twice the global rate, researchers state. The researchers are quite specific about areas at risk:  “Low-lying areas from the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains (British Columbia), the Prairies bordering the United States (southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) and north of Lake Erie through the St. Lawrence River Valley (southern Ontario and Quebec).” Toronto can expect very hot days — over 30C — to increase from a dozen each summer to more than 50 by 2051. The further south you go in Ontario, the worse it gets, with Hamilton and the Niagara region sweltering in life-threatening temperatures, and Windsor set to be on the receiving end of almost 80 days a year of temperatures higher than 30C. Extreme heat is already causing premature deaths in Canada. During a heat wave last summer in British Columbia, 526 people died as a result of extreme heat in the last five days of June.

Let this be the news that inspires a home, fires up a community, mobilizes a city, and catalyzes the energy of a nation. Let this, O Lord, be the warning sign that isn’t ignored or drowned out or denied. Let this, God, be our rallying cry.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

West Michigan Welcomes: Walking Alongside New Americans

Interested in walking alongside refugees but not sure where to start? This event is for you. You’ll hear the experience of someone who came to the U.S. as a refugee, learn what it’s like to walk alongside New Americans, and be equipped to take action in your community and on public policy. Register to join us May 25. Not in West Michigan? Register for the livestream.

Sustainable Investing Workshop

Christian investing is about empowering the businesses and endeavors that are good for people, culture, and the broader environment. So what should that look like in practice? We’re hosting a webinar on “Sustainable Investing: Your Money Matters” with Kurt Holzhueter of ClearView Investments. This webinar will be on May 26, 8-9 p.m. (EDT), and will consider the pathways available to churches, congregations, and individuals who are looking for ways to get started in sustainable investing. Register now to reserve your spot!

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