June 11, 2017 is the Office of Social Justice Offering Sunday. Thank you for collecting an offering for our office!
People across the Christian Reformed Church are engaging in important justice work on issues such as immigration, refugees, sanctity of human, indigenous justice, religious persecution, creation care, and more! For example, more than 300 CRC partners in 43 churches in the United States and Canada have joined the CRC Climate Witness Project to learn more about climate change, seek to become better stewards of creation, and advocate for policies that will benefit the earth, people around the world who are poor and vulnerable, and future generations. In the OSJ Offering Sunday bulletin insert, you'll read about how more than a dozen CRCs in Classis Red Mesa that have been able to install energy-saving LED light bulbs and fixtures and take other steps to save scarce financial resources and protect the environment. Exciting energy stewardship projects like this are happening across our denomination! We're here to help your church engage in important work like the energy stewardship efforts in Classis Red Mesa.
In addition to Ministry Share support, it is the yearly offering from CRC churches like yours in the U.S. and Canada that make this important work possible.
Below are a few resources that you can use on this Sunday:
Free bulletin inserts are available for your church to use. Visit the Faith Alive site to pre-order your inserts. Or, you can download and print the bullet inserts here. The order deadline is May 15!
God our Creator, we confess that sometimes when we look at the world around us--chemical weapons attacks in Syria, empty stomachs in Somalia, lack of access to clean water in Flint and in many Indigenous communities, families divided by politics, a rising culture of fear and distrust between neighbors--we strain to see your sustaining hand at work in this world you love so dearly.
We confess our cynicism. We confess that sometimes the darkness seems too much for our feeble faith to hold on to the light. We confess that our minds cling to the negative, to the simple headline, and often fail to see the nuanced truth, the sparks of light, the unexpected acts of sacrificial love. Oh God our help in ages past, give us faith to see your hand at work. Give us faith that sees the darkness for what it is and knows that your light is stronger.
Victorious Jesus, you have shown us the way! In your life, death, and resurrection, you modelled a different kind of Kingdom--where there is good news for the poor, sight for the blind, mercy and healing for the rich, where the last are first and the first are last. We pray for refugees integrating into our communities and the people who support them. We pray for undocumented immigrants who are facing unknown futures and narratives that treat them like burdens. We pray for those taking steps to care for your good creation, from switching lightbulbs to speaking with their representatives to supporting farmers in the Global South who are working to adapt to climate change. We pray for families facing unexpected pregnancies and ask that you would use us to support them. For these people and many more, we pray: may your Kingdom come.
We look forward to the day when your glory will be fully revealed--to the great gathering before the throne where every one of us will be able to bring the best of our cultures and ethnicities and lay it before you in worship. You broke down the dividing walls of hostility. You conquered the grave. You rose again.
Oh bright Morning Star who draws us onward to your glorious Kingdom, grant us hope.
Mysterious Spirit, fall again upon your people. May our sons and daughters prophesy. May our young men and women see visions, and our old people dream dreams. Revive your people as only you can. Every day, you are moving among your people. Awake love in our hearts, the kind of love that we see in Jesus--self-sacrificing, flesh-and-blood, break-down-walls-that-divide-us love. You are able.
“Why oh Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
God of the nations, of the poor, and of us: See your world suffering in increasing violence against humans and against creation, dying from from famine, awash in refugees. We are shaken and afraid. Where are you?
“In their arrogance, the wicked hunt down the weak catching them in the schemes they devise.”
God of justice, give us eyes to see the hunted – and the hunters, minds to understand the schemes, hearts soaked in compassion, and hands to participate in your plan to set the world aright. You are waiting for us.
“The innocent are crushed, they collapse; they fall victim to superior strength”
God of mercy, hear the cries of the hungry, the refugees, the trafficked, the persecuted, the scapegoats, the tortured, prisoners, and the despised. Deliver them. Redeem your creation and end its suffering. Bring release, sight, and gladness once more. You are present with the poor.
“The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land”
God of all power, intervene in the wars and conflicts that plague us: Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Nigeria, and the deep divisions among ourselves. Your kingdom is coming and we are its citizens - your people - first, foremost, and always. As citizens of your kingdom may we be a presence and promoters of peace and justice in your world.
“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.”
Redeemer, savior God, we rest in your promises. We rejoice in the prospect of your new order when all your sons and daughters have equal worth, where all have what they need, when all see your glory, and no one, no one, is ever terrified again.
You are the reason for our fellowship. You are present in our hope. You are the light of our world.