OSJ Prayers: November 28, 2018

“Lord, please make it so that we would rather choose death than partake in evils against humanity. Make it so that we would rather risk our reputation and security than deny your call to work for freedom for the oppressed. Amen.”

—Book of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Nov. 26)

Tension Escalates at Border Between Asylum Seekers and Law Enforcement

U.S. authorities closed off the busiest port of entry along the U.S. border with Mexico on Sunday and fired tear gas at members of a Central American migrant caravan who had rushed the fencing that separates the countries. Although the number of people at the border was relatively small, the unrest — with migrants attempting to climb fences and run through car lanes to reach the United States, and with scenes of mothers and children choking on tear gas — represented a serious escalation of the crisis. What began Sunday morning as a peaceful migrant protest about the slow pace of the U.S. asylum claims process devolved into a chaotic scramble in which hundreds made their way to the border hoping to cross onto U.S. soil. To block that from happening, and as some threw rocks and bottles, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers took the rare step of firing tear gas into Mexico and closing all legal vehicle and foot traffic to the San Ysidro border crossing, which U.S. officials say normally has about 100,000 visitors per day.

For the children, men, and women—many of whom make up families—at the border, aching with need for shelter, safety, and the promise of a better future, we cry out to you. For counselors, pastors, social workers, doctors, lawyers — exhausted and burdened by the numbers, the stories, the pain — we cry out to you. For your church — including those in this community — called to reach out, welcome, and love, we cry out to you. May we be motivated by love and not by fear. May our leaders be filled with wisdom, compassion, and the courage to seek justice.

U.S. Climate Report Warns of Dire Environmental and Economic Outlook

A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end. The report’s findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth. All told, the report says, climate change could slash up to a tenth of gross domestic product by 2100, more than double the losses of the Great Recession a decade ago. The report puts the most precise price tags to date on the cost to the U.S. economy from projected climate impacts: $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea-level rise, and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century, among others.

For those who are already vulnerable, who will be most affected by these economic consequences of inaction in the face of climate change, we offer our prayers, Lord. Give strength to the powerful so that they might stand alongside people whose voices have been silenced or marginalized. Give leaders ears to hear, Lord.

Aid Organizations Call for End of U.S. Military Support in Yemen War

Five international charities on Monday urged the United States to halt all military support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels, saying it would save millions of lives. A joint statement by the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 14 million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen if the parties to the conflict don't change course immediately. The charities called on the U.S. to back up its recent call for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen with genuine diplomatic pressure, mainly on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a key coalition member. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the war, and two-thirds of Yemen's 27 million people rely on aid. More than eight million are at risk of starvation in what has become the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

God, we pray for change — and soon — in Yemen’s crisis so that all these beloved lives might be spared. We pray for desperate and grieving parents who are watching their children die without any ability to help them. We pray that leaders in power will take seriously the great value of these human lives.

GM Oshawa Plant to Close in 2019 to Cut Costs, Pursue Electric

Automaker General Motors Co. plans to end production at five North American plants – including Oshawa, Ont., by next year, putting thousands of people out of work as the company retools to focus on electric vehicles and save $6 billion (USD). On Monday morning, employees walked out of the Oshawa plant by the dozens after learning the automaker would be shutting down the facility where some had worked for more than three decades. Union meetings are under way to discuss the fate of more than 2,500 engineering, machining, and assembly-line jobs. It was announced on Sunday night that GM would shutter the plant amid a restructuring of its global operations to focus on autonomous and zero-emission vehicles. The Prime Minister and the Ontario Premier pledged to work together on measures to help laid-off workers. The province is planning to extend employment insurance coverage for five extra weeks in the regions affected by the plant’s closing.

God, for workers who have lost their sense of security, we offer prayers for hope, for a sense that there might be solid footing in their future. For those who work in corporate offices, in whose hands so many families’ livelihoods rest, we pray for wisdom, and we pray that the value of people would be just as important as the value of profits. We also remember that this plant’s closure is but one among many like it — we remember in prayer all who wish to work but cannot find a job. Bring provision, support, and dignity to them, Lord.

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Holy Impatience is an email devotional series put together by World Renew and the CRC Office of Social Justice that features reflections from CRC ministries around the world during Advent 2018. In this Advent season we will explore doing justice in a world that belongs to God, a world where so many people are marginalized and oppressed, with a holy impatience, celebrating glimpses of the kingdom and eagerly yearning for what is to come. Each devotional reading will be delivered to your email inbox every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting Dec. 3, 2018, through Christmas Day. Sign up at today!

Do Justice Blog

“Would they have given her a second thought or a second glance or offered a prayer of safety . . .”—Shannon Perez, Canadian Ministries' Justice and Reconciliation Mobilizer, reflects and laments for missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women. Read the full blog here.