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OSJ Prayers

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.

Advent Devotional Series

Have you signed up for our 2016 Advent Devotions yet? Starting next week, World Renew and the CRC Office of Social Justice will share a devotional series for Advent 2016 called The Things That Make for Peace to orient your Christmas season.

Read stories about peacemaking from CRC partners around the world and learn about times and places where we see glimpses of the kingdom of God and the peace that it brings. To sign up, go to crcna.org/advent.

Grand Rapids, Mich., Event: Before the Flood Documentary Screening!

Join us at Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Mon., Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. for a FREE screening of the new documentary Before the Flood! The film presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet. Hosted by the Climate Witness Project (CWP) Team at Calvin Christian Reformed Church, this event is sponsored by the CWP teams of Boston Square Christian Reformed Church, Church of the Servant CRC, First Christian Reformed Church, Creston Christian Reformed Church, Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Woodlawn Christian Reformed Church, and Fountain Street Church, in partnership with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light.

Giving Tuesday!

We are thrilled about the work that we’ve accomplished together this year. We have seen more Christians doing advocacy with us than ever before. But we know that in 2017 it will be even more important to stay engaged and to steward our voices. For this year’s Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, we are excited to announce that a few justice seekers have committed to match donations to the Office of Social Justice (on this day only!). Donate now and spread the word!