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Justice Prayers - July 26, 2023

All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.

- All Things Bright and Beautiful

Two killed, two missing after violent flooding in eastern Canada

Two people who went missing amid a series of floods in eastern Canada are presumed dead, according to authorities in Nova Scotia. Tim Houston, the premier of the Atlantic-facing province, confirmed the deaths on Monday after weekend storms brought heavy rainfall and rising waters to the region of Halifax, the province’s largest city. “I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the two people who passed away following floods,” Houston said in a statement. The floods take their toll as Canada grapples with a period of extreme weather, including a record-breaking fire season that continues to burn across the country. The storms in Nova Scotia started on Friday, swamping parts of the maritime province with more than 25cm (10 inches) of rainfall in one day, the amount it typically receives in about three months.

Lord God of all creation, we pray for the departed and ask that the Holy Spirit might dwell might those who are grieving. We pray for the land that is washed over with water and for all the destruction therein. Help, O Lord, when it seems helpless and the environment which we call home has become violent and unstable. 

Community gathers before Manitoba church basement excavation for unmarked graves begins Wednesday

The excavation of potential unmarked graves near a former residential school is the next step on a journey of trauma and healing, say members of a Manitoba First Nation. Minegoziibe Anishinabe, also known as Pine Creek First Nation, is working with Brandon University researchers to excavate 14 anomalies found in the basement of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Catholic Church using ground-penetrating radar last year. The church sits beside the former Pine Creek Residential School. Nation member Brenda Catcheway has been part of the search for unmarked graves since it first began. She says the search is part of the story of Minegoziibe Anishinabe, located about 320 kilometers (198 miles) northwest of Winnipeg, because the residential school left traumas that have lasted generations. "I'm just happy with the stage that we are at and happy that I'm going to be here to complete it," Catcheway said. She noted that the excavations begin this week and will take a month to complete. If unmarked graves are found, then remains would be identified using carbon dating, DNA testing and the school's student registry.

We pray for the excavation that is soon underway and for all those now tasked with unearthing the trauma and pain that awaits underneath. May their hands and feet be guided by a commitment to truth and justice. For the community gathered, we pray that they might be drawn together rather than apart, guided by love and justice, not fear and division.

West Bank shooting: Israel says it has killed three suspected Palestinian gunmen in Nablus

The Israeli military has said it shot and killed three alleged Palestinian gunmen in the northern occupied West Bank, the latest bloodshed in one of the most violent stretches of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in years. Israeli security forces said they opened fire on Tuesday at Palestinian militants who had shot at them from a car in the West Bank city of Nablus, the territory’s commercial capital and a major focus of the Israeli military’s recently stepped-up raids. In the hilly neighborhood of al-Tur shortly after the shooting, Israeli forces inspected a shattered black Skoda surrounded by spent bullet casings. Palestinian media described the killing of the gunmen as an ambush after the militants’ attempted attack on Israeli forces near a Jewish settlement overlooking Nablus. The Israeli military said it confiscated three M-16 rifles and other equipment from the car.

How long, O Lord, will the pain of this conflict continue to destroy communities, families, and lives? We pray for those lost to this violence and for all those caught in the crossfire. Heal these warring and hurt people, creator.

Deadly global heatwaves undeniably result of climate crisis, scientists show

The human-caused climate crisis is undeniably to blame for the deadly heatwaves that have struck Europe and the US in recent weeks, scientists have shown. Both would have been virtually impossible without the global heating driven by burning fossil fuels, their analysis found. Another searing heatwave, in China, was made 50 times more likely by the climate crisis.

The results make it crystal clear that human-caused global heating is already destroying lives and livelihoods across the world, making the need to cut emissions ever more urgent. Such brutal heatwaves are no longer rare, the scientists said, and will worsen as emissions continue to rise. If the world heats by 2C, they will happen every two to five years. A report by leading climate scientists in March endorsed by the world’s governments, said: “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” The latest analysis demonstrated how rapidly that window is closing.

We pray for justice and fairness for those worst hit by our changing climate. We know people living in extreme poverty around the world are worst hit by the climate crisis, but have done the least to contribute to it. Creator, we ask for your mercy and repent when our blind consumerism has led to the destruction of this, our common home.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

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.  

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.

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