OSJ Prayers: September 5, 2018

We know that crying out for the afflicted and singing songs of gladness are both parts of a healthy prayer life. Share these prayers with your local body of believers this week.

Detroit Schools Turn Off Drinking Water

On Tuesday, students at all 106 public schools in Detroit returned for the first day of the school year with all drinking fountains turned off. Since 2016, water testing in the district has found elevated levels of lead or copper in dozens of schools. Another round of water-quality tests was conducted this year, and the results for 24 schools came in mid-August. Of those, 16 had at least one water source with elevated levels of lead, copper, or both. That, coupled with testing results from 2016, brought the total number of schools with known water issues to 34. Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti said students would still be able to wash their hands and flush toilets, but drinking water would come from water bottles and water coolers rather than fountains or sinks.

God, we lift in prayer children — close to home or far away — who are exposed to risks because of poverty. We ask for leaders to be inspired to offer creative solutions, intent on protecting the dignity of all people, so that a child’s health is not predicted by their zip code or their race or their family’s income. We pray for the value of human life to be reflected in policies, practices, budgets, communities.

California Votes for Carbon-Free Electricity by 2045

Legislators in California voted last week to require that 100 percent of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2045. Already hailed by environmentalists as a monumental victory, this will require a complete shift to clean energy such as solar and wind, and it will demand that electric utilities source 60 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030, up from the current target of 50 percent. California becomes the second U.S. state, after Hawaii, to call for carbon-free electricity by 2045, and early indications point to Massachusetts and New Jersey following in their footsteps. The bill has yet to be made official, as it will need to be approved by the state senate and Governor Jerry Brown.

God, we pray that the policies enacted by leaders in our communities would follow your will and be grounded in the goal of honoring creation and human life for generations to come. Guide us in energy usage that honors you and does not destroy other parts of your creation.

Brazil Deploys Army Amid Wave of Venezuelan Migrants

Clashes between Venezuelan migrants and Brazilians has led to President Michel Temer sending Brazil’s army to the nation’s northern border to maintain “law and order” amid an influx of refugees fleeing crisis-hit Venezuela. In addition to ensuring the security of Brazilians, the soldiers' role is also to look after the Venezuelan migrants' safety, the president stated. Since the crash of oil prices in 2014 and the subsequent widespread poverty leaving 4 out of 5 Venezuelans in poverty, 2.3 million citizens have migrated from Venezuela, creating the greatest migration crisis in Latin American history, according to the United Nations. Neighboring countries across the Americas have struggled to accommodate the masses of fleeing Venezuelans as well.

God, for the people of Venezuela who have suffered so much and who are now faced with an unknown future, we pray for courage, for safety, for hope. We pray for all — including us — who are in communities that are receiving people who have left home. May we receive your call to extend hospitality.

Trans Mountain Pipeline in B.C. Halted

A Canadian court sided unanimously with environmentalist and Indigenous groups to halt the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. The ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal reverses the Canadian government's approval of the multibillion dollar project. The court said the government failed to "fulfill the duty to consult owed to Indigenous people." The decision is seen as a victory for First Nations groups who originally filed the legal challenge in 2016, alongside several environmental groups and the City of Vancouver, in order to stop construction on native land. The opposition to the pipeline argued that the risks of oil spills in the Salish Sea — home to already endangered killer whales — and the potential hazards of increased petroleum tanker traffic are too high a price to pay for an economic boom.

Lord of whales and oil and people, we offer our prayers for shalom. We are mindful of the complexities of the work of stewardship. We are mindful of the legacy of racism and dehumanization that has deemed some people’s needs as more important than those of others. We are mindful of the ways people have dishonored your creation. We pray for wisdom and justice. Guide us to know how to act so that all that you have created may flourish.

OSJ Opposes Overhaul of Clean Power Plan

The Office of Social Justice opposes the Affordable Clean Energy plan because of its ramifications on the health of Americans as well as its inevitable destruction of God’s creation. Read more.

Refugee Admissions Statement and Action Alert

Ministry leaders from the CRCNA issued a statement in support of refugee resettlement in the United States.

To take action and support refugee resettlement, visit our Action Alert Center.