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OSJ Prayers

Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Fears of heightened bigotry and hate crime have turned into reality for some Americans after Donald Trump's presidential win. The Southern Poverty Law Center has counted more than 400 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the U.S. since Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016, including racist or anti-Semitic pro-Trump graffiti, threats and attacks against Muslims, harassment and intimidation of women, and assaults and harassment of people of color all around the country.

God, we offer our prayers for peace and for a spirit of equity in the United States. We pray for leaders to have the courage to stand against these actions as well as the attitudes that inspire them. We pray for your church to be a force not just for safety but also for justice in this new atmosphere.

South Sudan Spirals

South Sudan's festering civil war risks spiraling into genocide, according to the United Nations, which cited recent examples of ethnically targeted rape, civilians being killed with machetes, and villages being burned to the ground.

For the desperate situation in South Sudan, God, we lift our prayers. In the midst of this horrific violence, destruction, and fear, we pray that you will intervene. Bring wisdom, bring peacemakers, bring powerful forces for good. Bring light, O God.

Israel Moves to Legalize Settlements

Israel's parliament has approved a draft bill that could legalize thousands of Jewish homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. This legislation is being seen as a dramatic advancement of the settlement enterprise, which is already endangering the prospects for a two-state solution.

God, we pray for the people of Palestine in the wake of this troubling move. We pray for all who are committed to the work of brokering peace. Grant them perseverance and strength. God, empower those who seek not to jeopardize peace but to advance solutions that honor the dignity of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Russia Withdraws from International Criminal Court

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to withdraw Russia from the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Putin's decree comes a day after the United Nations General Assembly's human rights committee approved a resolution condemning Russia's "temporary occupation of Crimea" and blamed Moscow for rights abuses and discrimination against some Crimean residents, such as Tatars.

God, justice requires accountability. We pray that those who have committed war crimes would be held accountable and that those atrocities would be exposed so that such sins do not continue to occur.

January 15, 2017, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and the CRC Office of Social Justice is pleased to offer resources for your church to honor the day—resources for worship planning, bulletin inserts, a prayer, and a responsive reading. This year, as we honor the Sanctity of Human Life, we want to lift up all who are grieving the loss of a child. This is why we are highlighting the story of Eloise, who was born at 25 weeks and after 31 beautiful days of life went to be with Jesus. In her short time on earth Eloise touched many lives, teaching about the value of every life created in God’s image, no matter how fragile or small.

Visit crcna.org/life for worship resources and to learn more about Eloise’s story. Please order the free bulletin inserts by December 19 to ensure they get to your church on time.