Tension at Standing Rock
On Sunday night, police hit protesters at the Standing Rock site of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline with water cannons and rubber bullets while temperatures were below freezing—posing serious health concerns for all who were affected. Police described the events as an "ongoing riot"; protesters claimed they were attacked after trying to pull burned-out cars from the road to allow emergency vehicles to access the site. Protests have been going on for several weeks with no end in sight.
Creator, the sacred obligation to care for your creation and the dignity of the human beings you created are deep values of our faith. We pray that your will may be done at Standing Rock. Strengthen those whose highest concerns are the common good, the flourishing of creation, and the dignity of people.
COP22 in Marrakech
The COP22 meetings on climate concerns in Marrakech, Morocco, came to a close last week. The meetings focused on ensuring that countries sign legislation that would make the objectives of the Paris Agreement possible. Over 40 countries vulnerable to climate change have agreed to use only renewable energy by 2050. The Marrakech Vision was adopted by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which states, “We aim to survive and thrive in a world where, as soon as possible and at the latest by 2030 to 2050, the dangers of climate change are kept to an absolute minimum.”
We pray, Lord, that the dangers of climate change may be kept to an absolute minimum. May we pursue this, may our leaders pursue this, and may we all have the wisdom to do what we’re called to do so that people most affected by the changing climate are cared for and your earth is protected.
Pope Francis on Abortion
Pope Francis has declared that abortion, which remains a "grave sin" in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, can be absolved by priests instead of requiring the intervention of a bishop. The change was granted on a temporary basis for one year as part of the “Year of Mercy,” but now it has been instituted for the foreseeable future. Pope Francis, in his statement, emphasized that no sin is out of reach of God’s mercy.
God, we pray for a world where abortion never happens—where every baby is born to a community marked by health, equity, opportunity, and the ability to flourish. Where any of this is lacking, Lord, use us to design solutions. For all who have been affected by the tragedy of abortion, we pray that they may know your mercy and grace in deep, meaningful ways. Help us to be communities that embrace people who are crippled by grief and shame. We give you thanks for the truth that your grace is sufficient for all of us.
Hospitals Forced to Close in Aleppo
The remaining hospitals on the rebel-held side of Aleppo, Syria, have been badly damaged and forced to stop providing care amid intensifying bombardment, according to the World Health Organization. The destruction left more than a quarter-million people in eastern Aleppo without hospital care. It is unclear whether the hospitals will be able to reopen.
Loving, powerful God, we don’t know how to pray for a solution to the desperation that pervades Aleppo. Kyrie eleison. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Hear our prayer.