Prayer and Action for Iraq

Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq invites you to join us in a day of prayer and action. Every Tuesday until Easter we will have a focused day of prayer and a subsequent action. Our time of prayer will be at 1400GMT and the action taking place between Tuesday and Thursday. Please consider posting any messages related to these prayers and actions on this site so that we may all encourage each other’s spiritual growth. Please refer to the main website, cpt.org, for more on our organization.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

“And those who make you tremble wake up”

6 “Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!”
7 How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
Will not your own creditors suddenly rise up?
And those who make you tremble wake up?
Then you will be booty for them.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
all that survive of the people shall plunder you;
because of the human bloodshed and violence to the earth.

9“Alas for you who get evil gain for your houses,
Setting your nest on high to be safe from the reach of harm!”
10You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many people.
You have forfeited your life.
11The very stones will cry out from the wall, and the beams will respond from the woodwork.

12“Alas for you who built a town by bloodshed, and founded a city on iniquity!”
13 It is not for the Lord of hosts that people labor to feed the flames,
and nations weary themselves for nothing.
14 But the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
as the waters cover the seas.

15“Alas for you who make your neighbors drink, pouring out your wrath until they are drunk,
in order to gaze on their nakedness!”
16 You will be sated with contempt instead of glory,
Drink, you yourself, and stagger!
17 The cup of the Lord’s right hand
will come round to you,
and shame will come to your glory!
18 For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
The destruction of the animals will terrify you-
because of human bloodshed and violence to the earth.

Habakkuk 2: 6-18 NRSV


Suggested Action: This passage speaks to several of the important concerns regarding Iraq. Please email, call or write your Congressional Representative about one of these concerns that are described below. If you don’t have contact information please go to http://www.house.gov/. For those readers who are not U.S. citizens consider writing or emailing your ambassador to the United States requesting that they speak out regarding these issues.

”Heap up what is not your own(Verses 6-8) Consider writing about the reality that only twenty-six cents of every dollar allocated for Iraq reconstruction is actually flowing into the Iraqi economy (Iraq Ministry of Planning figures). Many U.S. corporations are reaping the gains of the post invasion “reconstruction”. See this article for information about the Halliburton Corp.
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?storyID=7091742

Safe from the reach of harm(vs. 9-11) Much of the current administrations justification for the incursion into Iraq is to keep harm from coming to the homeland. This discounts the harm that is taking place in the Iraqi homeland and just as importantly the large number of American men and women who have been killed or seriously injured. Consider writing about the hidden impact of the over 15,000 U.S. non-combat casualties suffered so far.
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/112304W.shtml

“Built a town by bloodshed(vs. 12-14) An American general referred to the assault on the town of Fallujah as an action that “broke the back of the insurgency”. However the weeks following the action have seen a marked increase in death and destruction at the hands of these same insurgents. Consider writing about the tremendous cost, in human terms, such a brutal house-to-house urban battle creates.
http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/

In order to gaze on their nakedness(vs. 15-18) Illegal and immoral actions are still being carried out by U.S. military intelligence and the CIA. While the Supreme Court has moved to bring the detainees in Cuba within the guidelines of the U.S. Constitution no such action is available for detainees in Iraq. Consider writing to demand that we adhere to the United Nations Minimum Standards of Treatment for Prisoners.
http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=17216&c=206

You may also find out more about the detainee situation by visiting the CPT website at:
http://cpt.org/campaigns/adopt/adopt_a_detainee.php


Thursday, December 16, 2004

"A Mother's Story"

Luke 1:38
Then Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

The story of the birth of Jesus is also the story of Mary. This simple, faithful woman from Galilee accepted the task of being the mother of Jesus, knowing from the beginning that it was going to be difficult. Her own engagement at the time was enough reason to decline. She ran the very real risk of becoming an unwed mother and possibly being stoned as an adulteress when Joseph discovered she was with child. Yet her heart told her it was right.

The rest of the story had more trouble for Mary. Emperor Augustus called for a census, which meant that Mary and Joseph had to travel, in the late stages of her pregnancy, to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem to register. While they were there Jesus is born in a very humble manner, and sometime after the birth the family had to flee to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod who was determined to kill Mary’s child. Of course, Mary didn’t know all of these things would happen to her, nor did she know that she would eventually witness the agonizing death of her son. She simply accepted motherhood with all its joys and perils.

Right now in Iraq and in the United States there are mothers (and fathers) who accepted this same labor of love and who are now concerned for the well being of their children, whether their children are babes in arms or soldiers in uniform. Families on all sides of the conflict are experiencing the absence, injury and sometimes even death of their beloved children.

Suggested Action:

*Make a special time of prayer this week for the mothers, fathers and children who are impacted by the conflict in Iraq. Pray that those who perpetrate the violence will recognize their own humanity and will be led to stop making war on families. Pray by name for those you know who are affected personally.

*Support a family who has a loved one in the conflict, be they from the United States, Iraq, the United Kingdom, etc. Be supportive as you feel led to their needs—share Christmas treats, visit, drop a card or an e-mail, or simply let them know you remember their loved one.

*Remember the Iraqi families who are suffering now, many who have experienced great personal struggle and loss. Post your message on our web log http://prayerandactionforiraq.com/ for us to relay to Iraqis. To post a comment there, follow these instructions:
o Go to http://prayerandactionforiraq.com/
o Scroll down to the bottom of the posting you wish to comment on.
o Click on the place that shows the number of comments made on the posting.
o Scroll to the bottom of that page and click where is says, “Post a comment.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"This is your hour and the power of darkness"

Luke 22 is a chapter of love. The chapter depicts Love, but Love confronted with betrayal, denial, and arrest. The authorities are seeking a way to put Jesus to death. They finally rely on the cover of darkness. The disciples are afraid and respond in various ways. The threat of arrest or death tests their commitment with Jesus to the limit. Terror is fear of the unknown.

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you [disciples], that he might sift you [disciples] like wheat …Luke 22: 31

When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness.” Luke 22: 53
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How do you respond to terror or attack? Might you, in fear, compromise principles of love by fleeing, or turning on a friend? Would you do whatever it takes to avoid the assault? How does the unknown impact your reaction?

Here in Iraq, house raids by U.S. troops happen in the middle of the night. Emotions short-circuit morality as prisoners are tortured or killed. Even nonviolent peace and development organizations rely on armed guards or flee the terror. Those who want to think the best of occupation troops attack reporters who tell events as they happen. Most journalists hole up in barricaded enclaves or only report from “embedded” positions.

At home, how do you respond to terror and attack? Do you pay for bigger weapons systems? Do you avoid those who are different? Do you escape to television and work? Do you justify the violent response to terror with religious pablum? Remember Jesus in these times of testing. Jesus modeled service, prayed for God’s will, healed the injured slave, and spoke straightforwardly to his interrogators. Jesus crossed lines of enmity, purity, and religiosity.


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Suggested Actions:

Break the barriers of the unknown. Get to know another human being on the other side of an artificial barrier.

1) If you are Christian, go visit a mosque or Islamic Center in your area. If you are Muslim, visit a church or synagogue in your area.
2) If you are not a soldier, go visit a nearby military base. If you are a soldier, go visit a peace center in your area. Go with a friend.




Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Day of Prayer And Action- "Security: A False God"

My guardian is God . . . . . Those to whom you pray besides God cannot help you, nor can they help themselves.” (Qur’an 7:196)

A ruler is not saved by an army,
nor a warrior preserved by strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save . . .

Our soul is waiting for God.
God is our help and our shield.
In God do our hearts find joy.
We trust in God’s holy name.
May your love be upon us, O God,
As we place all our hope in you.”
(Psalm 33:16-17, 20-22)

__________________________
“Stay safe.” We hear it all the time in Iraq. “Our soldiers are keeping us safe.” One hears it all the time in the Western world. Citizens of the West agreed to go to war because we wanted to be safe from WMD’s, we remain at war because we want to be safe from terrorism, and we pour billions of dollars into war and defense instead of into schools, healthcare, and social services.

Security, security, security. It has become a false god. We are obsessed with “staying safe” and are willing to use violence in order to do so. But “a vain hope for safety is the horse” – or the mini-nukes, fighter jets, tanks, and arms buildup. Despite their power, they cannot save.

What will save us? What about a just distribution of the world’s resources, justice and human rights in all our affairs, an attitude of trust rather than suspicion, friendship rather than intimidation, and an openness to learn rather than to preach. The Qur’an parallels the Biblical tradition when it states “It was God who created you from a single soul.” (Qur’an 7:189). When we remember to place our hope only in God and God’s presence in each other, perhaps at last we will be truly safe.


Suggested Action Steps:

For U.S. citizens: Consider that nearly 50% of your tax dollars go toward military spending in search of a “security” that does not exist. Visit the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee website (http://www.nwtrcc.org/) and consider ways to reallocate your tax dollars.
All citizens: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Express your concerns about your country’s approach to security, and suggest alternatives.