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Justice Prayers - January 25, 2023

He calls us all to step aboard his ship, 
Take the adventure on this morning's wing, 
Raise sail with him, launch out into the deep, 
Whatever storms or floods are threatening. 
If faith gives way to doubt, or love to fear, 
Then, as on Galilee, we'll rouse the Lord.  

- The call of the disciples Malcolm Guite

U.S. and Germany to Send Tanks to Kyiv

The United States announced they will send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of persistent arguments that they were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain. The U.S. decision comes on the heels of Germany agreeing to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. President Biden has made it clear that sending Abram tanks to Ukraine is not an offensive threat to Russia, Kimberly Halkett, Al Jazeera’s White House correspondent reported. “This is more of a signal to Americans here in the US who might be worried about ‘mission creep’ if you will. Russia is a nuclear power and there are many Americans who are worried about the escalation and the impact this might have,” Halkett said, reporting from Washington, DC. It’s also been reported that Slovakia is ready to send 30 T-72 tanks to Ukraine “immediately” if it can receive Western tanks to replace them, defense minister Jaroslav Nad said.

God, do we truly have nothing else to offer the world except more bullets and bombs? We pray for peace and justice. We pray for all those whose lives have turned into hell-on-earth these past 12 months, and all who long for the day when weapons are turned into plowshares.

Four Mass Shootings Leaves California Reeling

Gun violence takes a daily toll in California, but the brutality, scale and pace of the past week has felt different. In the course of just eight days, at least 25 people were killed in four separate mass shootings, defined as any shooting in which at least four people are injured. The killings – which cut across a big city, a placid Los Angeles suburb, and two small farming towns – have left residents shaken, exhausted and afraid, and renewed calls for some kind of fundamental change. “This proliferation of violence just seems like it’s perpetual,” said Tinisch Hollins, the executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, an advocacy group for survivors of violence. “It’s so common now to hear of mass shootings that they don’t even stay in the headlines. Not even a day later, we’re talking about an entirely different incident. It’s horrifying.” An average of five California residents die from gun homicides each day, but mass-casualty shootings highlight how violence can upend any community in the state, from rural enclaves to quiet suburbs. “At some point, you get tired of ‘thoughts and prayers’. You get tired of writing statements,” said Fernando Rejón, executive director of Urban Peace Institute, a community safety organization founded in California. “And you keep asking yourself, what is going to be the tipping point? After Uvalde and all these recent mass shootings, you think they’ll be the tipping point, and then it’s not.”

So many of us live in a society so sick and violent we know nothing but endless carnage that fills up our streets and our screens. If nothing was done after Sandy Hook, how can we have hope that anything will ever change? And so, Lord, we do not beam with hope today. We lament, we cry out, we long for change.

Inflation Slows while Grocery Prices Rise, Interest Rates Increase

Canada's annual inflation rate cooled to 6.3% in December, its lowest level since February.  Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that the deceleration in the cost of living was mostly due to a 13% decrease in the price of gasoline, which saw its biggest one-month plunge since April of 2020. The average gasoline price across Canada is now only 3% higher than it was this time last year, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine turned the global oil market upside down. Grocery prices inched up another 0.3% during the month of December, and have increased by 11% year over year. That's a slight slowdown from the 11.4% pace the previous month, but plenty of food items are still getting more expensive, particularly fresh vegetables, which have gone up in price by 13.6% in the past year. 

The Bank of Canada has raised its benchmark interest rate again, to 4.5%. The move was widely expected by economists as the bank tries to wrestle record-high inflation into submission. It's the eighth time in less than a year that the bank has hiked its trend-setting rate, a move that will make borrowing money more expensive. But at one quarter of a percentage point, it's also the smallest hike since March, and thus a sign that the bank may be done with hiking rates for the next little while. 

We pray fervently for all those who are especially impacted by inflation that has forced some into decisions between food, medicine, and rent. We pray for relief, and that it might come swiftly. 

Renewables Projected to Soon Be One-Fourth of US Electricity Generation

Renewable energy is poised to reach a milestone as a new government report projects that wind, solar and other renewable sources will exceed one-fourth of the country’s electricity generation for the first time, in 2024. This is one of the many takeaways from the federal government’s Short Term Energy Outlook, a monthly report whose new edition is the first to include a forecast for 2024. The report’s authors in the Energy Information Administration are expecting renewables to increase in market share, while natural gas and coal would both decrease. From 2023 to 2024, renewables would rise from 24% to 26% of U.S. electricity generation; coal’s share would drop from 18% to 17%; gas would remain the leader but drop from 38% to 37%; and nuclear would be unchanged at 19%. It was a big deal in 2020 when generation from renewables passed coal for the first time for a full year. Coal made a comeback in 2021 and then retreated again in 2022. The ups and downs were largely the result of fluctuations in electricity demand during and then after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lord God, we give thanks and praise for the scientists, policy makers, electricians, homeowners, renters, and advocates who have helped us reach this milestone. And we say to them - and to ourselves - Don’t Stop There! Keep Going! This is but a milestone, there is much work still to do!

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Social Justice Offering Sunday 

People across the Christian Reformed Church are engaging in important justice work on issues such as immigration, refugees, sanctity of human life, Indigenous justice, religious persecution, creation care, and more! The CRCNA's work in social justice helps CRC members continue love our neighbors in tangible ways.  Read more about our work.

Concert: With Jonathan Maracle 

If you're in the Hamilton area join Meadowlands Fellowship CRC for a concert featuring Indigenous singer-songwriter Jonathan Maracle.  He integrates his Christian faith as a Mohawk follower of Jesus with the traditional sounds of Indigenous music, sharing his journey in reconciling his Mohawk heritage and his Christian faith in a compelling and insightful way. His concerts are an encouraging inspiration for Christians and all who are engaged in reconciliation with the Indigenous community.  RSVP for February 11th at 7:30pm

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