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Justice Prayers - February 6, 2024

The rulers of the earth plan, and scheme, and make laws, and change laws, and war, and pull down one, and raise up another. But they little think that they rule only by the will of Jesus, and that nothing happens without the permission of the Lamb of God. - J. C. Ryle

Child poverty is on the rise in Canada, putting over 1 million kids at risk

Canada ranks among the top third of countries for its work in addressing child poverty. But that isn’t the whole story. Based on current rates of and overall progress in reducing child poverty, the latest UNICEF report card ranks Canada 11th out of 39 of the world’s wealthiest countries. Initially, it seems Canada is doing well; between 2012 and 2021, child poverty fell by 23 per cent. In reality, since 2021, the number of children living in monetary poverty has sharply risen from 15.2 per cent in 2020 to 17.8 per cent in 2021, and more than one million Canadian children live in poverty today. This means that one in five children live in persistent fear and stress, face barriers to having their basic needs met, such as stable housing and nutritious food, and experience a lack of opportunity, including access to quality early childhood experiences. Child psychologists know that the consequences of child poverty are lifelong and are worth prioritizing. Child poverty is a pernicious childhood adversity that has detrimental long-term impacts on children’s health, development and well-being throughout life. Children living in poverty have lower academic outcomes, including school readiness and academic achievement, than financially better-off children. Poverty is also a risk factor for behavioural and emotional difficulties. 

Lord God, creator of the universe and lover of all, we pray for Canadian children across every province and territory, from big cities to small towns. We pray for policies and leaders that prioritize families and the future of the nation. We pray for food, schooling, and healthcare in abundance for each and every precious child.

Hurricanes becoming so strong that new category needed, study says

Hurricanes are becoming so strong due to the climate crisis that the classification of them should be expanded to include a “category 6” storm, furthering the scale from the standard 1 to 5, according to a new study. Over the past decade, five storms would have been classed at this new category 6 strength, researchers said, which would include all hurricanes with sustained winds of 192mph or more. Such mega-hurricanes are becoming more likely due to global heating, studies have found, due to the warming of the oceans and atmosphere. Michael Wehner, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US, said that “192mph is probably faster than most Ferraris, it’s hard to even imagine”. He has proposed the new category 6 alongside another researcher, James Kossin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Being caught in that sort of hurricane would be bad. Very bad.”

While we’re making progress to decarbonize our economies and our lives, it is not nearly fast enough, Lord. Help us to cease with stalling, waiting, delaying, and trying every other option first before taking this threat seriously. The message is quite clear: there are consequences for so deeply disturbing your creation. We need your help to adapt, each of us individually and most importantly, collectively.

Three people dead from California storms as rain and floods wreak havoc

A deadly, atmospheric-river fuelled storm caused chaos across California on Monday, battering the state with record amounts of rain, destructive mudslides, and violent winds that left at least three people dead from falling trees. Nearly 38 million people are under flood alerts across the state and into Arizona, including about 10 million people in Los Angeles county. At least three people have died due to the storm, all struck by trees that toppled over in the fierce weather. But officials warned dangers still lurk in the waters that could continue to rise. By Monday afternoon, the storm remained stalled out over the Los Angeles area and forecasters warned the unrelenting stream of rain – falling at roughly half an inch per hour – could reintensify through the afternoon. The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that the storm will continue to hammer the region through Tuesday. The storm has produced alarming amounts of rain so far, with some areas of Los Angeles totaling more than 10in. The University of California, Los Angeles, located on the west side of the city, received more than 11.8in – more than three times the average amount that falls in the entire month of February, UCLA climate scientist Chad Thackeray reported.

We pray for the victims of this storm which has brought havoc to southern California. We pray for emergency and first responders, health care professionals, and all burdened with restoring power, securing public safety, and assisting cities and their residents as they recover.

‘Unprecedented’ destruction in Gaza as death toll mounts and war rages on; Hamas set to reject ceasefire

UN official Rosemary DiCarlo has urged all parties to “step back from the brink” of a potential regional conflict. The UN says that since the start of the war, about 100,000 people in Gaza have been killed, injured or are missing. “The risk of escalation in the Middle East and its potential consequences were obvious from October 7 … the Middle East remains highly volatile,” DiCarlo said during a UN Security Council session. “The Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] continues his extensive outreach to all key stakeholders to urge all parties to take concrete measures to deescalate tensions and to work toward sustainable political solutions that aim to resolve rather than merely manage longstanding conflicts.” Hamas is expected to turn down an offer for a hostages-for-ceasefire deal with Israel along the lines of the previous agreement, which saw over 100 captives being freed in November, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel reported on Sunday night.

There is no ‘winning’ this war, Lord - only destruction, only heartache. Bring an end to this: prick the hearts of those who would commit acts of violence, destruction, and abuse. 

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Recording Available: Nurturing Belonging: Hospitality, Disability, and Theology

In October, Thrive hosted Nurturing Belonging: Exploring Hospitality, Disability, and Theology. This training event explored disability theology and the experiences of people with disabilities in the church. The complete recording is now accessible on YouTube. This is a great resource for all church leaders, regardless of whether you consider yourself a disability advocate. View here »

Justice and Hope Sunday - February 18th

Lent gives us space to grieve the many injustices that we see in the world. Praise God that we are not left in Lent but we are also a resurrection people.  Justice and Hope Sunday raises up the work of the Centre for Public Dialogue a CRCNA ministry that promotes a positive voice of Christian faith in Canadian public life that seeks justice, hope, and reconciliation in political dialogue, and active citizenship.  Resources for this Sunday are available online.

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