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Justice Prayers - October 18, 2023

Be our primary disease, 
and infect us with your justice; 
Be our night visitor, 
and haunt us with your peace; 
Be our moth that consumes, 
and eat away at our unfreedom.  
Until we are toward you and with you and for you 
away from our injustice, 
our anti-peace, 
our unfreedom.  
- Walter Brueggemann 

Israel-Hamas Conflict Rages On
  • On Monday, The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Gaza faces an imminent public health crisis as they are “running out of water”. The UN agency said the lives of more than 3,500 patients in 35 hospitals in Gaza are at immediate risk, and called for the unobstructed access for humanitarian aid into the enclave.

  • About 2,000 US troops have been put on the ready to deploy orders for possible support to Israel, according to multiple reports. The US military has selected roughly 2,000 troops from across the armed services who are tasked with missions like advising and medical support, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing defense officials. The troops are not intended to serve in a combat role, according to the report, adding that no infantry have been put on prepare-to-deploy order.

  • More information about the prisoners held by Hamas came in a recorded video released by the group’s armed wing on Monday, Reuters reports. A spokesperson said there were “about 200-250” Israeli captives in Gaza, contradicting an earlier statement from the Israeli military that said it had confirmed 199 hostages. They were seized on Saturday 7 October when Hamas fighters broke through the Israeli border fence in southern Israel, and attacked a music festival and multiple settlements killing more than 1,300 Israelis.

We continue to pray for justice - justice for those murdered in their homes and communities, and justice for those who have lived under oppression and domination for decades. We long for resolution, and pray that those angered by harm done to them may not inflict that very same harm on others. This warring and fighting only proves that the tools of war only lead to greater war; let us try different tools, O God.

Six-year-old Palestinian boy killed in Illinois

The Islamophobic killing of a six-year-old Palestinian child in Illinois has sparked outrage and shock after police characterized the gruesome act as a hate crime. “The child’s Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek – a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace,” President Biden said. On Monday, 71-year-old Joseph Czuba was in custody on murder and hate crime charges after investigators say he stabbed Wadea and his mother because the family was Muslim. Czuba, a landlord for the family in Plainfield, Illinois, choked and stabbed the child’s mother, according to text messages from the 32-year-old woman that were shared by Cair, the US’s largest Muslim civil rights organization. As he entered the apartment, Czuba allegedly shouted: “You Muslims must die!”

We watch and read in horror as violence elsewhere serves as a springboard - a match to light the flame - of hatred that exists in our own communities, our own hearts. For the victim and their family, we pray for comfort, for justice, for love. Raise up leaders of communities across the world who stand up to this hate, and do not seek to dole out the very violence they see, but seek peace and justice.

Biden administration to invest $7 billion in clean hydrogen

Plans to develop a climate-friendly super fuel capable of powering heavy trucks, ships and energy-intensive factories received a big boost from President Biden on Friday, as he unveiled plans for funding a network of seven clean hydrogen “hubs” across the nation. The $7 billion initiative, which administration officials said Biden would unveil at an event in Philadelphia, is aimed at jump-starting development of infrastructure that will produce and deliver advanced hydrogen fuels experts say could be a game changer for cleaning up emissions. “As hydrogen is built out, it could reduce overall carbon emissions in the United States by 10 to 20 percent,” a senior administration official said on a call with reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity to not get ahead of the president’s announcement. The money will flow to clean hydrogen projects in every region of the country, from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Northwest.

Amid the hype around hydrogen are also deep-rooted challenges, as environmentalists warn that if the administration does not impose tough regulations, this fledgling sector could actually make the climate problem worse. Hydrogen fuel, which is made by separating water molecules, is not a new fuel. But in its current form, it is hardly a climate solution. It is typically produced with immense amounts of fossil fuels through a process that involves combining methane with steam. Energy companies around the world are racing to advance a cleaner version that can be made emissions-free, using clean electricity to separate molecules.

For investments in the future, we pray, Creator God. Whether hydrogen or any other scientific breakthrough, we pray that our investments and long years of laboring might be met with an equally robust investment in collective wisdom; wisdom to know how and when to appropriately deploy energy, when we must pull back from our excess, how to undergo the ‘heart’ work of changing our relationship with the world we belong to.

Canadian autoworkers ratify new contract with General Motors, leaving only Stellantis without deal

Canadian autoworkers have voted to ratify a three-year contract agreement with General Motors. Members of Unifor, the union representing about 4,300 Canadian workers at three Ontario GM facilities, voted 80.5% in favor of the deal, the union said Sunday in a statement. The vote followed the pattern of an agreement reached earlier with Ford, and it leaves only Jeep maker Stellantis without a contract. Talks have yet to start with Stellantis, which has the largest Canadian manufacturing footprint of Detroit's three automakers. The GM agreement came after a brief strike last week by the workers at GM factories in Oshawa and St. Catharines, Ontario, and a parts warehouse in Woodstock, Ontario. Unifor said that the deal includes pay raises of nearly 20% for production workers and 25% for skilled trades. Workers would get 10% in general pay raises in the first year, with 2% in the second and 3% in the third. The company also agreed to restore cost-of-living pay raises starting in December of 2024. Temporary workers would get pay raises, and those with at least one year of service would get permanent jobs. Workers who get defined-contribution retirement plans will move to a new defined-benefits pension on Jan. 1, 2025.

We pray for each and every family whose quality of life will improve from these deals that bring wage increases and pensions. We pray for meaningful work in abundance, O Lord, and we pray for workplace safety, living wages, and work-life balance that allows families to not just benefit from a job, but to have a truly fulfilling life.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Statement on Israel-Palestine Conflict

I would like to urge all Christian Reformed people to join me in praying for peace in Gaza, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. Pray that those in positions of power will exercise restraint, especially for the sake of civilians caught up in this cycle of violence. There are roughly 2 million Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza strip right now, unable to escape the violence. Pray also that governments will advocate and take actions towards peace and justice.

Ask Your MP to Support Bill to Reverse MAiD for Mental Illness 

Please ask your local MP to vote for Bill C-314 this fall. Bill C-314 would reverse the law allowing medical assistance in dying for people with mental illness alone. A vote in the House of Commons could come as early as Oct. 3. Please consider contacting your MP’s office – you could call to leave a message or talk with someone, or you could send an email or letter. You can also circulate a petition in support of Bill C-314 and return it to your local MP. For more resources including sample wording for a brief letter or call, visit  


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