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Justice Prayers - May 8

Lord, hear your Easter people's prayers! We live in hope, because He lives. 


Ceasefire Reached after Nearly 30 Die in Israel, Palestine

A ceasefire agreement has been reached between Israel and Palestine to end a surge of violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel that led to the deaths of at least 22 Palestinians and four Israelis, as of Monday morning. The outbreak of violence appears to have begun on Friday, when a sniper in Gaza wounded two Israeli soldiers—and for two days Gaza launched 600 projectiles into southern Israel. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered "massive strikes" on the Gaza Strip in which Israeli warplanes and gunboats targeted Gaza.

God, for all who have died in this surge of violence, we grieve. Each is known and loved by you. For those who are still alive but who live in the midst of this conflict, we offer prayers for healing and hope. For the political rancor -- in the Middle East, in the U.S. -- which seems to create so much heat but never much light, we pray for a breakthrough. God, bring peace to this part of the world.


Ecosystem Collapse Imminent if Conservation Efforts Fall Short

A 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, has concluded that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction because of human consumption. People all over the world rely upon these ecosystems for their survival. “For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” said Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; “but this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.” These trends can be halted, the study says, but it will take "transformative change" in every aspect of how humans interact with nature.

God, forgive us. We know not what we do. Help us to know what to do to change our ways -- buy less, slow down, avoid waste -- so that we not only take care of the world you created, and not only care for those vulnerable to suffering because of this threat, but also live as though our lives have been marked, changed, transformed by your love, which has created and sustains all things.


Negombo on Edge as Violence Erupts after Easter Bombings

In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings, Sri Lanka has deployed additional troops to the city of Negombo. Tensions rose there after a minor traffic accident escalated into mob-like violence, which many attribute to the raw emotions and high tension after the killings there weeks ago. A mob ransacked several homes belonging to local Muslims. Christian Pakistani asylum seekers are reportedly being forced to leave their homes and neighborhoods because of violence.

God, we pray for an end to this heart-breaking violence in Sri Lanka, which has already endured so much fear and suffering. We pray for Christians there; empower them to experience peace and to be makers of peace. We pray too for Buddhists and Muslims who are experiencing such palpable division and violence. Renew in Sri Lanka the calling to peace and justice.


Bill Banning Religious Symbols in Quebec Stirs Public Outcry

If passed in its current form, Quebec’s Bill 21 would prevent religious symbols from being worn by police officers, judges, and public school teachers. This has raised concern and debate about religious liberty and freedom. Though the bill does not single out a particular religion, it comes during a time of change in Quebec’s social climate, as far-right groups have sought to intimidate and disrupt Muslim events in public spaces.

God, for the freedom of all people to proclaim their faith publicly, we pray. We pray for Quebec’s leaders as they wrestle with this decision, and we pray for people whose faith puts them in the minority there. We pray for people around the world who live in societies where they cannot express their faith freely because of policies or because of threats of violence.


Becoming (part of) the Answer to Our Own Prayers 

Abuse and Power in Chinese Churches

“Power structures exist in the church because local houses of God on this earth are also human social institutions,” writes Mary Li Ma, research scholar, mission consultant, social scientist, and justice advocate in China. Read Mary’s full reflection on power structures in the Chinese church.

Action Alert: Support Humane Solutions at our Southern Border!

The White House is asking Congress for more money to go to the southern border to address the high volume of migrants arriving there. Congress should invest in compassionate budgets that protect the dignity of asylum-seekers, refugees, and immigrants, and it should invest in systems that offer safety and hospitality. Contact your Member of Congress!


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