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Justice Prayers - January 10, 2024

O Lord, protect your people with your shepherd’s staff; lead your flock, your special possession.  - Micah 7:14

FDA to allow Florida to import prescription drugs in bulk from Canada

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it will allow Florida to buy prescription drugs directly from wholesalers in Canada, a move that is intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs for residents in the state. Prescription drugs are often much cheaper outside the United States, and some states, including Florida, Vermont and Colorado, have urged the federal government to allow them to import drugs from other countries. The FDA already permits individuals to buy prescription drugs from Canada under certain circumstances. The push to allow states to do so has been in the works for years. In 2019, the Trump administration announced preliminary plans to import drugs from Canada, asking states to come up with proposals on how to do so safely. In 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing the agencies to work with states on the importation plans. The FDA's new policy will allow Florida to purchase prescription drugs in bulk. The medications will be made available to its residents through various state-run health care programs, such as Medicaid. Friday’s move comes as the federal government continues to negotiate with major drug companies on the cost of the 10 costliest drugs in the U.S. as part of a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act. The negotiated prices won’t go into effect until 2026.

God of the downtrodden, the sick, the weary, we pray that these drugs might provide immediate relief. We pray they might make it into the possession of those who so desperately need cost cutting measures for their medication. Although, Lord, we pray for so much more: we pray for a healthcare system that is less concerned with profit and more concerned with health outcomes, and a system which forces states and individuals to go to another country for drugs so ordinary people don’t have to choose between medicine, rent, and food.

Hundreds missing from Gaza’s Al-Aqsa Hos­pi­tal amid Israeli bombardment

Hundreds of patients and staff are reported to be missing from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza, which is struggling to cope amid intense air strikes across the enclave. The majority of medical staff, as well as around 600 patients, have been forced to leave the complex to unknown locations with no information of their whereabouts, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) reported on Monday. The two institutions note chaotic scenes as the remaining staff at the hospital continues to try to cope with an influx of injured people as “heavy Israeli bombardment from air, land, and sea intensified across much of the Gaza Strip”. WHO official Sean Casey said that new patients were arriving at the hospital every few minutes, adding that due to evacuation orders and the dangerous situation, there were only five doctors left to oversee hundreds of emergency cases and casualties.

Lord, we lift up Israel and Gaza to You. Please speak into this crisis with words of peace and justice. Give world leaders wisdom as they handle this situation, and please, halt the hands of those who seek to enact revenge, inflict further damage, or gain the upper hand. There is no winner in this fight, Lord - only destruction and death. We pray for those we’ve lost.


Killing of Hezbollah commander raises fear of total war

Israel has killed top Hezbollah commander Wissam al-Tawil in an air strike in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese armed group says. Hezbollah on Monday announced the killing of one of its commanders for the first time in three months of cross-border clashes with Israeli forces. This occurs as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels the region attempting to prevent the outbreak of a wider war. Hezbollah said the killing of Salah al-Arouri, which Hamas and Hezbollah said was also caused by an Israeli air strike, “will not go unpunished”, and it claimed responsibility for an attack on an Israeli military base on Saturday. Jamal Ghosn, a political commentator in Beirut, told Al Jazeera that a change has occurred in the fighting between Israel and armed Lebanese and Palestinian groups in the past week or so in which Israel has resorted to targeted killings of people who are not directly involved on the battlefield.

A lot on the agenda for the US Secretary of State as the Americans have been constantly putting the pressure on the Israelis to wind down their military operation in Gaza to a lower intensity, but there are a lot of other things for him to discuss as well, like the Israeli plans for after the war. Additionally, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he wants to talk about a future peace, one that is lasting for Israel and one that is aspirational for the Palestinians and that could, perhaps, pave the way for a Palestinian state.

Lord, it feels like much of the world is on the brink of falling into chaos. We pray that leaders in Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, and Iran might halt their efforts to score a victory and imagine a world not marked by senseless, never-ending violence. We need a new vision for our collective flourishing.

U.S. Supreme Court decision puts Minnesota's climate change lawsuit closer to its day in court

A major hurdle was removed on Monday to a lawsuit seeking to hold fossil fuel firms responsible for climate change. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a lawsuit brought by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison against six companies connected to oil production. The companies had sought to have the lawsuit moved to federal court, and the court's decision to deny their petition keeps the case at the state level."[T]he defendants' behavior has delayed the transition to alternative energy sources and a lower carbon economy, resulting in dire impacts on Minnesota's environment and enormous costs to Minnesotans and the world," Ellison wrote in an emailed statement. With the Supreme Court's decision, he added, "We can begin to hold these companies accountable for their wrongful conduct." Minnesota's suit, filed in 2020, is one of several brought by cities, counties and states in the past seven years that seeks to hold oil firms accountable for their contributions to a warming planet. None has yet reached the point where each side is presenting evidence and arguments, however, because of repeated battles over whether the lawsuits should be heard in state or federal courts. Minnesota's suit argues that the companies duped consumers by hiding evidence that burning fossil fuels heats the planet. The defendants include the American Petroleum Institute (API), ExxonMobil Corp. and Koch Industries.

For those who have caused irreparable damage to ecosystems and harm to communities, we pray that they might face their day in court and pay for the crimes against humanity and your creation. There is no peace without justice: there is no “green” future without holding those to account who brought us to the edge of calamity.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Reconciliation Devotions

It doesn't have to be difficult or scary to talk with your kids about reconciliation. Kids Corner has some great lessons focusing on reconciliation in an age appropriate way (plus resources for parents). Check it out!

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