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Justice Prayers - November 30, 2022

"The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord."

- Henri Nouwen

Anti-lockdown protests spread in China over zero-Covid strategy

People opposed to China’s stringent Covid restrictions have protested in cities across the country in the biggest wave of civil disobedience on the mainland since Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago. Protests triggered by a deadly apartment fire in the far west of the country last week took place a week ago in cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Guangzhou, according to footage shared on social media, in defiance of a series of heavy-handed arrests of demonstrators last Saturday night. Last Monday in Beijing, two groups of protesters totalling at least 1,000 people were gathered along the Chinese capital’s 3rd Ring Road near the Liangma River, refusing to disperse. A crowd in Shanghai late on Saturday night called for the removal of the Communist party and Xi during a standoff with police, chanting: “Communist party! Step down! Xi Jinping! Step down!” Chinese people usually refrain from criticizing the party and its leaders in public for fear of reprisals. Widespread in-person protests are rare in China, where room for dissent has been all but eliminated under Xi, forcing citizens mostly to vent on social media where they play cat-and-mouse games with censors.

God, we pray for those who seek freedom from domination and oppression. We pray that their desire to breathe freely might manifest. For peace and for justice, O Lord, we pray. 

Company fires 2,700 workers days before Thanksgiving

A Mississippi-based furniture company abruptly fired nearly 2,700 workers in the US just days before Thanksgiving, according to multiple reports. Right before midnight on November 21, thousands of workers – many of whom were asleep – received a text message from United Furniture Industries (UFI) saying that they were terminated effectively and were no longer allowed to return to work. “Your layoff from the company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without provision of Cobra,” a follow-up email from the company read, referring to a federal law that gives employees who lose their jobs the option to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance under certain circumstances. On Wednesday, former employee Toria Neal filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that it violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act by not providing at least 60 days notice of its shutdown.

God, we know that this means that thousands are now not only out a paycheck, but also their health insurance. Too many working people in this country are treated as disposable; profit and saving face are vital, while the well-being of workers and their families is an afterthought. We pray each of these individuals might be rallied behind and supported during this time.

Updates from Ukraine
These are several updates on the Russia-Ukraine war as of Sunday, November 27.
  • With heavy snowfall expected in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko says the electricity supply has been restored in 90 percent of residential buildings, while one-quarter of consumers are still without power.
  • At least 32 people in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson have been killed by Russian shelling since Moscow’s forces pulled out two weeks ago.
  • Over two dozen Ukrainian soldiers and an Estonian soldier were hospitalized after their bus collided with a truck in Latvia
  • Pro-Ukrainian protesters have formed a human chain outside NATO headquarters in Brussels before the military alliance reconvenes on Tuesday in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

God, we pray that the eyes of the world not turn their attention away from Ukraine when the headlines aren’t flashy, or when our collective attention is elsewhere. We pray that pressure be put on the government of Russia, and those who support them, to end this violent, senseless war. 

Iranian dissidents in Canada say they're being watched and under threat from regime

There are growing concerns from Iranian-Canadians who say they are being threatened, monitored and even followed at protests and outside their homes by affiliates of the Iranian regime who are here in Canada. "They know the view out of my apartment. They said it was a school. That I have three cats. They knew the friends that have come to my house," said Maryam Shafipour, an Iranian activist who now lives in Canada and who is speaking out against the regime despite the dangers. Last year, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard — a branch of the Iranian forces designated as a terrorist organization in the U.S. — took that information about her life back to her sister in Iran, Shafipour said, and used it to try to threaten her family and lure her back to the country. "After that I just cut my relationship with all my friends because I'm really scared,' said Shafipour. "I am just isolated now." Last week, for the first time, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) confirmed that it is investigating "several threats to life emanating from the Islamic Republic of Iran." In related incidents, in 2021, the FBI publicized details of a plot to kidnap Iranian-American activist Masih Alinejad from her home in New York — part of that report revealed plots to kidnap three unnamed people here in Canada. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran even hired private investigators in Brooklyn, N.Y., and in Canada to spy on Alinejad and four other dissidents, according to court documents. 

God, we pray for law enforcement officials to act swiftly against these threats and surveillance. For the safety and peace of mind of each of these Iranian dissidents, we pray. Comfort the troubled, Divine one.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

It’s Not Too Late to Sign up for 2022 Advent Devotions! 

Take time to reflect on what it means to “prepare the way for the Lord” in the midst of injustice, conflict, and creation that groans. Sign up to receive reflections from writers with CRC ministries around the world every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in Advent at

Climate Huddle: Being Faithful People of Resilience

“Refugia” is a biological term for places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis. In Refugia Faith, Debra Rienstra considers how Christians can respond to this time of climate crisis and upheaval by becoming people of refugia.  Join us January 12, 2023 at 8pm ET for a discussion!

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