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, March 22, 2005

Litany of Confession and Repentance

NOTE: This is the final Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Action for Iraq. We invite you to post a note about what the past several weeks have meant for you. Thank you for your commitment, both now and in the future. While our formal time of gathering is ended, our prayers and actions will surely continue.

To Post a Comment:
1) Goto http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com/
2) Scroll down to the bottom of the posting you wish to comment on.
3) Click on the place that shows the number of comments made on the posting.
4) Scroll to the bottom of that page and click where is says, “Post a comment.”


Tuesday, March 22, 2005
A Litany of Confession and Repentance
(based on Palm Sunday reading of Matt 21:1-11)

We sing Hosanna,
and shout “Crucify!”

We proclaim peace,
and pay for war.

We preach liberation,
and practice occupation.

We glorify freedom,
and imprison without trial.

We want to be disciples,
but weaken like Peter.

Jesus of Nazareth, humble king,
a donkey your throne,
palms and thorns your crown.

Your eyes see the people on the outskirts of the crowd:

Iraqi widows draped in black
Young men detained at Abu Ghraib
Fallujan refugees homeless now
children without parents
fathers without jobs
women searching for justice
And families whose soldiers
will never return.

May Your eyes be ours, our voices Your’s,
and our Hosannas work for justice
’til the end of our days.

___________________________________________________

It is Holy Week. We are about to recall in a special way the suffering and death of Jesus, who nonviolently gave his life for the healing of all. Jesus, our Teacher, was put to death because his words and actions challenged the powers of the day. The leaders decided it was “better for one man to die” than for the Roman occupiers to feel too threatened. (John 11:48-50).

For the past four months, we have been gathering together weekly to pray, fast, and take action on behalf of the people of Iraq. We have committed ourselves to challenging the powers of the day: the powers of greed, fear, and materialism that foster the wars and occupations of our time. Although this commitment might lead us into times of darkness, death, or seeming defeat, we know from Jesus’ Resurrection that life can spring from death. The truth will always rise again.


ACTION STEPS:

1. Review the last several Day of Prayer actions. Choose one that particularly spoke to you, and continue to build on it. Share your commitment with others, for support and encouragement.

2. Consider writing a letter for the Adopt-a-Detainee Campaign. A new profile about three Iraqi brothers who were detained on Dec 31, 2004 has been added (www.cpt.org/campaigns/adopt/adopt_a_detainee.php then follow links to “CPT in Iraq”).

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Burden of Debt


An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) 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 either by fasting (the team will do a bread and water fast) and/or joining us for a time of prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard Time (1400GMT) the team will gather for an hour of prayer. You are invited to join for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with each week’s sacred passage. 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: http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com/.
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, March 8, 2005 Day of Prayer, Fasting and Action: Burden of Debt

Leviticus 25:10

“This year of jubilee you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.”

Jubilee years, which the ancient Israelites proclaimed as part of God’s law, granted freedom to slaves, forgiveness of debts, and return of land to its original owners. This practice helped to preserve the society’s social and economic equilibrium by preventing the extremes of wealth and poverty from polarizing the community.

Today, Iraq is one of many nations groaning beneath the burden of impossible debts. During the 1980’s, many Western nations including the U.S. and Great Britain made loans to support Saddam Hussein’s military spending in the war against Iran. In legal terms, such debts can be written off as “odious debts,” because 1) they were the personal debts of a particular regime, 2) they were contracted without the consent of the people and were not spent in the people’s interests (i.e. most of Saddam’s loans were spent on state and military oppression), and 3) the creditors were aware of what was happening with loans they provided.

Iraq’s total debt is within the range $95-153bn. In addition, Iraq has been paying and must still pay reparation claims from the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. A UN Compensation Commission has awarded almost $50bn to corporations, governments, and individuals. Iraq has paid almost $19bn of this, at a time when the country is desperately in need of funds for its own reconstruction. (The most recent payment was on January 13, 2005, and recipients included companies from America, Britain, France and Germany).

Even the Paris Club deal in Fall 2004, which promised up to 80% debt forgiveness for Iraq, comes with mandatory IMF conditions -- such as privatization, ending food rations & fuel subsidies and restricting salaries & pensions – which could further exacerbate the poverty and instability in Iraq. Plus, Iraq would still be burdened with $25bn in debt.
Since these debts were “odious debts” to begin with, the people of Iraq should not have to pay. Iraq’s debt should be written off completely, in the spirit of Jubilee that we find in the Mosaic Law.*

ACTION STEPS:
1. Budget one hour this week to visit the website of Jubilee Iraq, a nonprofit organization advocating debt forgiveness for Iraq. (http://www.jubileeiraq.org/)
2. Choose and follow one of their suggested action steps to respond to Iraq’s debt crisis.

*All statistical information from this post was taken from Jubilee Iraq at www.jubileeiraq.org.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Miseries of the Besieged City


An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) 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 joining us for a time of prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard Time (1400GMT) the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are invited to join for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with each week’s sacred passage. 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/.

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, March 8, 2005
Day of Prayer, Fasting and Action: Miseries of the Besieged City


(Lamentations 4:8,17-18)

“Now their appearance is blacker than soot,
they are unrecognized on the street;
their skin shrinks on their bones, as dry as wood.”

“Our eyes ever wasted away,
looking in vain for aid;
from our watchtower we watched
for a nation that could not save us.”

“Men dogged our steps
so that we could not walk in our streets;
our end drew near, and came;
our time had expired.”


“Yes, I saw women and children dead in the streets of Fallujah. Some were shot, and some had been killed by bombs,” a young resident of Fallujah told members of CPT. He himself had been beaten, interrogated, and detained for 35 days.

These horrors took place just a few months ago, as the U.S. army assaulted the Iraqi city with overwhelming force meant to quell the resistance.

“Please, tell U.S. military families what their children are being ordered to do,” the soft-spoken young Iraqi said.

CPTers in Iraq now hear from Iraqis, read in isolated news reports, and learn from their own travel experience that the U.S. military has launched a new wave of assaults west of Fallujah. The raids are part of a maneuver called “Operation Euphrates.” As of this March 1, 2005 writing, reports indicate that soldiers have surrounded and entered multiple villages and that the city of Ramadi is currently under siege. More than one million civilians, including women and children, are at risk.

However, we are experiencing a near total media blackout of these events.

ACTION STEPS:

1) Please call your local newspaper, radio station and television station to request information about these events.

2) Contact your elected officials and express your concern that the horrors of Fallujah are being repeated.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Casting Out Fear

An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) 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) the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are invited to join for the entire hour or for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with each week's sacred passage. 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: http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com.
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, March 1, 2005: Casting Out Fear

1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.”

Micah 4: 2-5
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that God may teach us God’s ways, and that we may walk in God’s paths”… God shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid.”

According to John, fear is the opposite of love. It is fear that isolates us, searches for enemies, and then demonizes and hates them. Micah calls us to a mountaintop where we can see the many peoples of the world through the eyes of God who heals disputes and enmities rather than exploiting them. So we learn the nonviolent message of Jesus: to reject not only war but also any preparation for it, finding our security in the power of love and compassion. In this vision the fruits of the earth will be shared by all; refugees will find a home, “and no one will make them afraid.” The challenge is to reject idolatry: the worship and obedience demanded by the national security state, and to walk in reverence in the presence of all creation: a creation that reflects and names the God of justice and mercy.

ACTION STEPS

1. Organize with parents and others to remove ROTC from U.S. schools.

2. Risk offering a kind word or action to someone who seems insecure and antagonistic.

3. Challenge a church leader to speak out against war & occupation as a means to “security”.

4. Risk “crossing the line” with others in an act of civil resistance to your government’s policy in Iraq.