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, January 25, 2005

Kids Don't Vote

IF YOU ARE SO LED PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FAITH COMMUNITIES AND YOUR EMAIL LISTS

An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad, Iraq invites you to join with us every Tuesday for a day of prayer, fasting and action that will continue until Easter week. Participate as you are led either by fasting (the team will do a bread and water fast) and/or participating with us in a time of joint prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard Time (1400GMT) on Tuesdays the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are invited to join with us for the entire hour or for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with the week’s sacred passage that is the focus for the prayer time. If you are so led, the CPT Iraq team asks that you take the suggested action between Tuesday and Thursday so that we can be working together.

Website for posting now available: CPT in Iraq has begun a web log found at http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com. We encourage you to post any insights that may have come to your during your times of prayer and action, so that we may encourage each other’s spiritual growth.

To post a comment on our web log, follow these steps:
1) Scroll down to the bottom of the posting you wish to comment on.
2) Click on the place that shows the number of comments made on the posting.
3) Scroll to the bottom of that page and click where is says, “Post a comment.”


Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Day of Prayer and Fasting: Kids Don’t Vote

Deuteronomy 18:10
Don’t sacrifice your children in the fires on your altars…”

Moses gave these words of advice to the Israelites as they were coming into the land promised to them. He meant it as an admonition to the Israelites not to follow the practices of those already in the land. He was reminding them to keep their ways pure in the sight of God.

The old adage in politics, “kids don’t vote,” comes to mind both in this Iraqi election, and in the recent U.S. election. Children, in any country, are those without a voice in the political system. They aren’t able to fund candidates or political parties, can’t vote, and don’t have influence as a group. Yet they are the ones we live for, work for, and strive for in our lives, no matter what our nationality.

Do we sacrifice our children to the fires on our altars, be those altars the war on terror, the quest for power and control, or the desire for natural resources to feed our habits? Do we compromise our children’s futures by having them kill and be killed in wars for us, or as we spend large amounts on our military rather than our schools? Are we the “terrorists” in the way we speak to children about people of other faiths, other nationalities, or other cultures? Do we live in such a way as to promote a world free from war and the threat of war by our prudent use of imported natural resources?

Suggested Actions:

Do something for children this week. Some suggestions include:
1) Talk to a group of kids about Iraqis as human beings. Find out something about the culture, faith and lives of ordinary Iraqis and share it with kids at your church, a local school, or in your neighborhood. Your own home is a great place to start.

2) Look at your lifestyle and see if there are ways to reduce your reliance on foreign products that are often part of the causes of war. A good place to begin is by decreasing your need for fossil fuels by car pooling or walking when possible. Get out your bike, your sneakers or your snow boots!

3) Inform yourself about the effects on Iraqi children of the U.S. involvement in Iraq. Find a place to be involved with aiding and assisting those who are bringing relief to the children who are orphaned, displaced, or injured by the effects of war.








Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rachel Weeping for her Children

IF YOU ARE SO LED PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FAITH COMMUNITIES AND YOUR EMAIL LISTS

An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad, Iraq invites you to join with us every Tuesday for a day of prayer, fasting and action that will continue until Easter week. Participate as you are led either by fasting (the team will do a bread and water fast) and/or participating with us in a time of joint prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard Time (1400GMT) on Tuesdays the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are invited to join with us for the entire hour or for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with the week’s sacred passage that is the focus for the prayer time. If you are so led, the CPT Iraq team asks that you take the suggested action between Tuesday and Thursday so that we can be working together.

Website for posting now available: CPT in Iraq has begun a web log found at http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com. We encourage you to post any insights that may have come to your during your times of prayer and action, so that we may encourage each other’s spiritual growth.

To post a comment on our web log, follow these steps:
1) Scroll down to the bottom of the posting you wish to comment on.
2) Click on the place that shows the number of comments made on the posting.
3) Scroll to the bottom of that page and click where is says, “Post a comment.”


Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Day of Prayer and fasting: “Rachel weeping for her children”

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children of Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.”

Matthew 2: 16 – 18 carries the pain of this season. There is the joy and celebration of the birth of Emmanuel, but the season also encompasses exile and sorrow. Last week the day of prayer focused on exile. Today the scripture carries the reader into the sorrow.

This region of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers may hold the birth site of the human story in Eden at the juncture of the rivers, but today it tells a tale of sorrow. Iraq now is a country ravaged by war. In war, the women carry much of the pain.

The fighters from both sides hold women hostage. The U.S. forces have a women’s prison in Erbil. Some of the U.S. forces are women who carry the trauma of war. But more broadly, women are the mothers, wives, and children of those who go off to war. They are the ones left to weep when fighters die in the conflict. There is “wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refus[es] to be consoled.”
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Women’s Will is an Iraqi human rights organization. The group has tried to get permission from the U.S. and interim Iraqi authorities to hold a vigil to express the pain of women on all sides of this conflict. They have been refused. They ask you to do this vigil on their behalf.
_____

Suggested Actions:

Be a stand-in for Women’s Will.
1) Gather women in your community for a public vigil to demonstrate the pain that mothers, wives, and children of Iraqi civilians, Iraqi resistance fighters, and U.S. soldiers carry because of this ongoing conflict.

2) Preach a sermon or write a letter to the editor of your local paper sharing the pain of women as a plea for an end to this conflict that damages and destroys everyone, especially the women in this world.



Thursday, January 06, 2005

"Liberty to Captives"

Tuesday, January 11, 2004
Day of Prayer and Fasting: Liberty to Captives


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18, from Isaiah 61:1)

“When you have laid [your enemies] low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take a ransom from them, until War shall lay down her burdens.” (Qur’an 47:3)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

While these holy texts ask us to treat captives with mercy and justice, the reality of prisoner abuse extends far back into human history. Biblical stories include numerous accounts of mistreatment: Samson, during the period of his imprisonment was compelled to do hard and humiliating labor (Jdg 16:21). The authorities often marked dangerous persons with various kinds of physical mutilation. Samson’s captors gouged out his eyes. King Nebuchadnezzar did the same to Zedekiah (2 Kings 22:27). Abonibezek’s torturers cut off his thumbs and great toes to render him incapable of further resistance (Jdg 1:6). Prisoners suffered from an inadequate diet (1 Kings 22:27) and were required to wear special prison garb (2 Kings 25:29).

Post-invasion Iraq is no different. We have all read stories of Iraqi men and women who have been tortured by U.S. soldiers while in detention. People have suffered electrocution, sexual abuse, physical mutilation, and psychological threats. Ongoing investigations reveal that this mistreatment extends far beyond the actions of “a few bad apples,” and is endemic within the prisons and detention centers in Iraq.

The detention system in Iraq is presently overwhelmed by more than 10,000 detainees. Many are housed in temporary prisons at military bases, because the two main prisons of Abu Ghraib and Bucca cannot contain them all. Their incarceration in military bases, among soldiers untrained in proper treatment of prisoners, increases the likelihood of further abuse.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ACTION:

1. Visit CPT Iraq’s Adopt-a-Detainee Campaign website (http://www.cpt.org/campaigns/adopt/adopt_a_detainee.php)

2. Choose a detainee whose story compels you, and write a letter on his behalf (the website lists contact information for various authorities to whom you can send letters).

3. Send a copy of the letter to your congressperson and senators (www.house.gov and www.senate.gov for their email and snail-mail addresses).

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Children in Exile

Tuesday, January 4, 2004
Day of Prayer and Fasting: Children in Exile


(Matthew 2:13-15a)
“After the wise men left, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.”



Jesus spent some of his most formative years living in exile. Mary and Joseph had to raise their child far from his native culture and people. How difficult was it for him to return home?

Today, young soldiers are sent both willingly and unwillingly into the exile of war. The stress of fear and combat, and the interior damage soldiers sustain when they become killers, last far beyond the time of deployment. How difficult is it for them to return home? How many, in their hearts, remain in exile?

More than 1,200 soldiers have died, more than 21,000 have been wounded, and more than 5,000 of the wounded have been too badly injured to return to duty. According to a study conducted last year by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 16 percent of Marines and 17 percent of Army soldiers showed symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq. Those figures are probably deceptively low, due to the shame connected with reporting a psychological illness. Other soldiers experience increased rates of marital discord, high-risk behavior and suicide attempts – all needing attention from a veterans' healthcare system that has received no new funding since the Iraq war began.


ACTION STEP:
Many soldiers and families of soldiers are organizing to say “no” to the Iraq war and occupation, and are seeking alternative ways to respond to international conflict. Choose one or more of the following groups to research and support in whatever way you can.

Bring Them Home Now (http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/)
“Our troops are embroiled in a regional quagmire largely of our own government's making. These military actions are not perceived as liberations, but as occupations, and our troops are now subject to daily attacks. Without just cause for war, we say bring the troops home now!”

Iraq Veterans Against the War
(http://www.ivaw.net)
“Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a group of veterans who have served since September 11th, 2001 including Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are committed to saving lives and ending the violence in Iraq by an immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces.”

Military Families Speak Out (http://www.mfso.org)
“MFSO is an organization of people who are opposed to war in Iraq and who have loved ones in the military. We were formed in November 2002 and have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world.”

For the UK:
Military Families Against the War (http://www.mfaw.org.uk)
“MFAW is an organization of people directly affected by the war in Iraq. Our relatives and loved ones are members of the British Armed Services. We are opposed to the continuing involvement of UK soldiers in a war that is based on lies.”

For Canadians:
Conscience Canada (http://members.shaw.ca/consciencecanada/index.html)
“As conscientious objectors to military taxation (COMTs), we choose to follow the dictate of our conscience and refuse to pay for war. Our Peace Tax Trust Fund allows people to divert the military portion of their taxes, to be held in trust until there is a law respecting conscientious objection to military taxation.”

Others:
Contact any of the above organizations to offer a word of encouragement. Let them know that people from other countries appreciate their bold witness in very difficult circumstances.