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OSJ Prayers: January 10, 2019

You'll be seeing some changes to OSJ Prayers
in the coming weeks.

To better equip CRC people to work and pray for justice, the OSJ Prayers newsletter will now be posted on our joint blog with the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, Do Justice, every Wednesday as Justice Prayers.

What does this mean for you as a Prayers subscriber?
You’ll still receive Prayers in your inbox every Wednesday, but now it will come through Do Justice. You’ll also receive other Do Justice posts every Monday and Friday to help you keep praying about justice issues throughout the week.

What do you need to do?
Just add dojustice@crcna.org to your address book and look for posts to arrive three times per week. You might want to star them or move them out of your promotions folder to make sure you see them.

Carbon Emissions Again on the Rise in 2018

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are once again on the rise. A preliminary report shows that carbon emissions increased by 3.4 percent in 2018, according to the economic firm Rhodium Group. This increase is the second largest in more than two decades, despite a significant decrease in coal-fired power plants across the nation. Electricity demand is growing, and although natural-gas fired power plants emit about half as much carbon as coal, they still contribute to greenhouse gases, which induce climate change. The Trump administration’s efforts to rescind environmental protections have hampered the potential growth of renewable resources, according to economic experts.

God, help us to see ways in which we might make the changes that are needed to better care for your creation and work against the development and impacts of further climate change. Whether this means personal change, community change, or policy change, we pray for an openness to new commitments, habits, and lifestyles that we must embrace in order to address the pressing issue of climate change in our world today.

Government Shutdown Causing Staffing Crisis, Resource Shortages in Prisons

With the U.S. government shutdown now in its third week, federal prisons are experiencing a staffing crisis as the Bureau of Prisons has furloughed roughly half of its 36,000 staff and has asked those remaining to work indefinitely without pay. At some facilities, inmate visits with their families were canceled during the holiday season due to lack of funding, according to interviews with staff and emails with prisoners. Inmates who are terminally ill and awaiting “compassionate release” to die at home with their families must now wait even longer because their applications are going unread. One of the most urgent problems, according to Robert Hood, a former penitentiary warden in Colorado, is that mental-health staff are being furloughed for a significant period of time.

God, we remember the prisoner during this time of uncertainty and chaos. We pray for prisoners who are lonely, sick, or otherwise suffering because of a lack of resources. We pray for the prison employees having to deal with extra stress caused by the government shutdown. We pray for swift, just solutions to the impasse in Washington, D.C., and may these prisoners and staff and so many others who are affected by this event experience peace and protection as they wait.

Europe to Allow Stranded Migrants to Enter

After more than two weeks, eight European countries have finally agreed to allow entry for 49 migrants (including children and unaccompanied minors) who have been stuck aboard two ships in the Mediterranean Sea after being denied permission to dock in Italy and in Malta. There have been reports of shortages of food and water and other dire conditions since December 22, when the migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya by the two charity-run boats. Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy will all take some of the refugees, and 249 others who have been waiting in Malta for an agreement will also be part of this deal. The president of Italy has been outspoken against welcoming new migrants to his country, saying, "I am and will remain absolutely against new arrivals in Italy. . . . Giving in to the pressures and threats of Europe and NGOs is a sign of weakness."

Lord, for the migrant who is so vulnerable to the decisions of others — whether compassionate or hard-hearted — we pray. For those who have committed to offer money, time, and energy to save the lives of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, we pray. For the leaders tasked with finding solutions to the ongoing stressors that migration has brought, we pray. We long for your justice, O God.

Canadian police arrest Indigenous protesters

The Wet'suwet'en people of northern British Columbia oppose the building of pipelines on their traditional lands, saying that the land has never been ceded to Canada. On Monday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) moved to arrest members of the blockade of the road leading onto the land based on an injunction order that was issued last month to the pipeline company, Coastal GasLink. The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say that they are blocking access to the land because they have not given their consent to the natural gas pipeline, or two other proposed pipelines coming through their lands. This action is a violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada has affirmed.

Creator God, we pray not just for peace, but for shalom—for right relationships between people, creation, and you. We pray that Indigenous rights would be upheld. We pray for the RCMP officers to went in to work this week and were assigned to this situation. We pray for wisdom for everyone involved—may Your justice roll on like a river, and Your righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!

Creation Care Worship Resources

We’ve been hard at work on a brand-new collection of crowdsourced worship materials written by YOU! We’re excited to finally start sharing them with you, starting this week with a collection of prayers. See justice.crcna.org/worship.

Action Alert: Support Bipartisan Climate Solutions!

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act will drive down America’s carbon pollution and bring climate change under control while unleashing American technology innovation. This bill has received bipartisan support, will reduce carbon emissions, put money in the pockets of Americans, create jobs in clean energy, and operate as revenue neutral, meaning that the government will not keep any collected revenue. Ask your Member of Congress to support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act!

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