Help us in our struggle of claiming to know when we do not know, of disrespecting others wellbeing and thinking we do not share the same world, drive down the same streets, share the harvest, hospital beds and soldier against disasters and pandemics.
Help each of us to follow Christ’s path of compassion. Help us to enter this union of love. We do not need to know or always understand or chase after having the answer. Sometimes things don’t make sense. Many circumstances reported in the news seem beyond our control. Nevertheless it is your love that brings light and clarity. Once again give us eyes to see, to bear witness, to stand when standing up is required, to speaking when our voice is needed and silence when keenly listening is a spiritual act of great compassion.
We pray for the news and stories as reported this week:
News of a practice known as push-out which refers to a punitive discipline used by schools where students are excluded from class and too often harm students and communities by pushing them out of school altogether. These sometimes very violent practices affect all students, but they disproportionately affect students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQIA students. We pray for those who bear witness and bring compassion and for those promulgating laws to protect from these injustices.
The International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands has spoken out against President Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines. Not criminals but the civilian population have suffered a “widespread and systemic attack.” We pray for those impacted by the extrajudicial killings, imprisonment of journalists and clergy, and communities threatened by violence. We pray for your guidance as the Philippines national elections are being planned for 2022.
We mourn the gun violence and deaths remembering the 60 people fatally shot and the hundreds more wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, USA four years ago this week. May those who bear witness to this horror be comforted, find support to endure and seek justice. We are saddened for loved ones and communities that will never be the same. We pray for the more than 100 people who are killed with guns and 200 more who are shot and wounded each day in the USA.
International news agencies report a mountain forest watershed connecting Columbia and Panama known as The Darién Gap is now a transit zone for migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and even as far away as Ghana and Bangladesh. Migrants face extortion, rape, and even death amidst the horrors of an extreme journey that seems to never end. Lord, have mercy. News reporters are reaching out to their families in their countries of origin to tell them they are “ok”. What is “ok” when you are carrying your 6 week old infant in a jungle? When you have been separated from the group and raped? When you have smeared dirt and mud on your face and body to protect yourself from criminals? When you are scrambling up a muddy mountain path to endure so your toddler who is with you can live a better life? We pray for all who bear witness to these sufferings. Bring your mercy to all who flee terror and endure danger on their journey and enter these “zones.”
Hear the plea of Reporters Without Borders as they host an urgent appeal by 103 journalists from Afghanistan who are in jeopardy of being silenced, detained and killed for reporting the news in their struggling nation.
We pray for the peoples of Myanmar eight months into a violent repression by the military. The coup has brought terror to reporters, doctors and community leaders who speak truth to power. Myanmar’s military have the horrendous distinction of having detained or imprisoned more journalists than North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Only China detains more journalists. Lord, have mercy. Open our eyes.
We pray for all nations to respect and honor their press for speaking truth, engaging in editorial debate, sustaining local news outlets and being at the scene of events and incidents along with first responders around the world. We pray especially for Eritrea where the dictatorship’s suppression of news has been likened to a black hole. The journalist Dawit Isaak has just completed his 20th year of being held without trial, the worlds longest held journalist. We bear witness now to these injustices.
Oxfam reports that hunger is taking more lives than COVID-19. We pray as we hear of so called “hunger hotspots” where conflict, COVID-related inequality, and climate change are a lethal combination for the most vulnerable children, elders and women. We hear of and our grateful that a means to provide cash transfers for people is saving lives and giving hope for projects as wide ranging as daily meals for Venezuelans through the community canteen project, and providing seeds and tools to farmers in Syria.
And sometimes we do know and realize and understand and sense we are standing in your light and truth. May it be so.
In Christ’s name,