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Justice Prayers - July 12, 2023

“There is not one little blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make men rejoice.” - John Calvin

US Swelters as South-West Braces for Record-Breaking Heatwave Up to 120F

The US’s summer of weather misery is expected to escalate further this week as the south-west braces for record-breaking temperatures. Over the weekend, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a warning about forthcoming further excessive heat in an already scorching month, even by typical US desert standards. The warning covers the Phoenix metro area and beyond in Arizona, and it will remain in effect until at least Sunday. The warning came after a week of record global temperatures in what is predicted to be the hottest month in the US ever recorded, accelerated by the El Niño pattern, as the climate crisis continues to spiral. The NWS said next week’s temperatures will range in the highs from 113 to 118F (45 to 48C) across the lower deserts on Wednesday and Thursday. It added that there are pockets of 5-10% probability of reaching a dangerous 120F (49C).

We pray for relief from the heat for our loved ones, friends, family, and all those who are baking under this immense heat. Our world is getting warmer, Lord, and we need so much to limit the damage: we need trees, cooling centers, water in abundance, and top notch medical care for children, the elderly, and the vulnerable.

So Thirsty They Drank Seawater: The Refugees Tunisia Pushed Out

Hundreds of men, women, and children forcibly expelled from the port city of Sfax remain trapped in the heavily secured “no man’s land” between Libya and Tunisia. Footage shot by Al Jazeera, the only media organization to reach the isolated group, reveals the pitiful sight of hundreds of people languishing on the coast between the armed forces of both states. The refugees and migrants on the beach showed reporter Malik Traina deep wounds they said had been inflicted by Tunisia’s security services. Others, who said they had been trapped for up to six days, reported being so thirsty they were driven to drink seawater. Tunisian President Kais Saied has said the hundreds of refugees and migrants are being treated well in line with the country’s values. Tensions have been growing for some time between Sfax residents and the mostly irregular Black refugees and migrants drawn to the city and the chance of a boat to Europe. Racially motivated attacks on the vulnerable population had been reported with increasing frequency, and on Tuesday, officials announced the death of a local man, 41-year-old Nizar Amri, who was said to be involved in the attacks on the Black refugees and migrants. Amri’s death and social media footage of his bleeding body prompted a wave of violence across the city so intense that one witness described it as “like a civil war”.

These stories are horrifying, O God, and they remind us of our profound depravity: of human-beings’ capability to inflict harm on each other. We pray for healing and rescue for those still caught between Libya and Tunisia. For water in abundance - that which can give life - we pray, Lord.

Canada Has Officially Banned Testing Cosmetics on Animals

Canada has moved to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals, joining a number of other countries and American states to outlaw the practice. The Canadian government announced the decision in a Tuesday news release. Bill C-47 amends the Food and Drugs Act to ban both the testing of cosmetic products on animals and the sale of products relying on animal testing data, according to the news release. Canada will join the ranks of the European Union, Australia, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, which have all moved to ban cosmetic testing on animals, according to the release. A total of 44 countries have passed laws banning cosmetic animal testing, according to the Humane Society International. Additionally, 10 states in the US have banned the practice: New York, Virginia, California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maine, Hawaii, Nevada, Illinois, and Maryland. “Protecting animals, now and in the future, is something that many Canadians have been calling for, and something we can all celebrate,” said Canadian Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos in the release. “We are proud to move forward with this measure, and to assure Canadians that the products they buy are cruelty-free. We will keep working with experts and international partners to explore safe, cruelty-free alternatives so no more animals suffer and die due to cosmetic testing.” The release added Health Canada is also working to identify “effective alternatives to animal testing” outside the cosmetic world.

When we move our collective energies and resources away from that which causes harm, towards that which ensures life, we move closer to God’s vision of the world. We pray that all of God’s creatures might be protected by such laws, and that the creatures in our care and in our communities might live flourishing lives.

Trudeau Says Canada Will More Than Double Military Presence in Latvia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to more than double the size of Canada's contribution to a NATO mission in Latvia, committing $2.6 billion in funding over three years and up to 2,200 Canadian troops for persistent deployment. About 800 Canadian Armed Forces members are already part of the Canada-led battle group in the Baltic country, making it the country's largest overseas mission. Trudeau is also announcing that Canada will procure and pre-position critical weapon systems, and is ready to deploy additional surge personnel for allied crisis response, co-operative security, and collective defense. This is all part of the NATO military alliance's efforts to increase its presence near Russia in response to that country's ongoing assault on Ukraine. The alliance has doubled the number of battle groups in the region since the war began, and has plans to increase the size and scope of some of them to be combat-ready brigades.

While we so desperately identify with the Ukrainian plight, and abhor Russian aggression, we also recognize that the further proliferation of weapons and soldiers moves the world closer to the kind of violence we so desperately wish to avoid. Train us, and impart in us a spirit of peace, to be people who reconcile with each other. Our world demands it; you call us to it: peace.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Join The Welcome Corps

Welcome Corps is a Public-Private Sponsorship Program that allows individuals and groups to sponsor and resettle refugees-without the support or financial assistance of Resettlement Agencies. With refugee resettlement numbers down after years of cuts to the resettlement budget, Welcome Corps is an opportunity to offer a pathway to safety to more refugees and live out our biblical call to welcome the stranger as found in Matthew 25.

Hearts Exchanged 

Do you want to grow in your reconciliation journey in a robust and appreciative way?  Hearts Exchanged is now recruiting participants from across Canada to be join other Reformed Christians in this learning and action journey.  Find out more and express your interest here.  

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

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