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Justice Prayers - June 14, 2023

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. - Psalm 19:1-2

Iraq approves record $153bn budget aimed at creating jobs

Iraq’s parliament has approved a budget of 198.9 trillion dinars ($153bn) for 2023 that sets out record spending on a growing public wage bill and development projects to improve services and rebuild infrastructure ruined by neglect and war. Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives Shakhwan Abdullah Ahmed said in a statement: “Basic services must be secured, infrastructure rehabilitated, employment and work opportunities provided, affected areas reconstructed, and the suffering of displaced people ended.” The budget aims to create tens of thousands of public sector jobs as the country, which has been racked by decades of war and sectarian strife in the wake of the 2003 US military invasion, wants to improve services and rebuild war-damaged facilities. The country has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, projected to double from 43 million to about 80 million by 2050, while most of the economy is state-led, with high unemployment. The country has seen frequent protests over the lack of jobs and public services.

We pray for Iraq as it grows, as it builds, as it determines its own future. We pray for growth in human development and for all the families who might benefit from public sector jobs. For transparency in where funding goes and for the flourishing of Iraqis, we pray, O Lord.

Young Montana residents bring climate change case to court for first time ever

A groundbreaking climate change trial began Monday in a courtroom in Montana’s capital city, involving 16 young residents who allege state officials violated their constitutional rights to a healthy environment. Filed in March 2020, the lawsuit, Held v Montana, will mark the first-ever constitutional climate trial in US history. “We’re asking the government and the courts to do their job and protect us, along with the rest of Montana’s citizens and our incredible home state; this case is one big opportunity for the state to become a leader in preserving a safe, beautiful and prosperous future for Montana,” Grace Gibson-Snyder, a 19-year-old plaintiff, said. Advocates hope the trial could set precedent for similar cases to move forward and that it could inspire legal action in other states. The state’s constitution has since 1972 guaranteed that the “state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations”. By propping up fossil fuels, the plaintiffs argue, the state has failed to uphold this responsibility. “I’m thrilled about this unique opportunity to lay out the whole story of how the government promotes fossil fuel development, how those policies exacerbate climate change, and how that in turn harms me and the other youth plaintiffs,” said Gibson-Snyder.
Jim Nelson, a retired Montana supreme court justice, says Montana has “never, never” fulfilled its duty to maintain a healthy environment. Just this session, he said, the state’s legislature enacted two dozen bills that will “adversely affect the environment”.

This is unprecedented, God, and we ask that the Supreme Court take seriously the claims of the advocates who are holding their leaders to account. We pray for the protection of our planet, and for our collective future. 

Canadian province of Quebec sees progress in wildfire battle

Quebec has made progress in its battle to fight wildfires that have contributed to the smoke that blanketed large parts of North America this week. "We're really happy with the last 48 hours," said Philippe Bergeron, with Quebec's firefighting agency, on Friday. Some evacuees in the province are hopeful they can soon return home. Canada is currently battling more than 400 wildfires burning across the country. Mr Bergeron said that firefighters have been successful in putting out a few fires, as well as containing larger ones in the province that have not grown as much in the last few days. On Friday, Quebec said it had allocated C$1,500 ($1,120; £890) for every household that had been forced to evacuate in the province because of the fires. Despite improvements in that province, on the west coast, officials in British Columbia (BC) are warning of an intense wildfire season ahead.

May clean air be abundant, O God, in Quebec, in New York City, in D.C., and in all other places where air pollution has been a crisis for decades. We are reliant on air to breathe, and when our activities pollute that very air, we contribute to our own demise. Clear our eyes, Lord, and give us wisdom and political will to protect that which we belong to.

Tanker fire causes part of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia to collapse

A tanker truck fire shut down I-95 in both directions after an elevated portion of the heavily traveled interstate collapsed in Philadelphia on Sunday morning, state officials said, raising concerns about possible travel headaches throughout the Northeast. The fire took about an hour to get under control. City and state officials are "responding to address impacts to residents in the area and travelers affected by the road closure," the state fire department said in a statement to USA TODAY. In a Sunday night update, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said at least one vehicle was still trapped under the collapsed roadway but there were no immediate reports of injuries. "We’re still working to identify any individual or individuals who may have been caught in the fire and the collapse," he said. Interstate 95 is the main north-south highway on the East Coast and stretches from Florida through Maine to Canada. "Travelers should expect delays and plan alternative travel routes, especially while planning for their weekday commute," the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management said

For the safety of all involved in this collapse, we pray fervently, O Lord. We pray for patience for travelers, and we pray for recovery. Help us to restore our infrastructure because it ensures safety and vitality for all who use it.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Prayers During Synod

Synod 2023 is underway. In order to support the work of synod in prayer, there are a number of initiatives to join in prayerful support of the meetings and conversations.  Check out the CRCNA Facebook channel for prayer updates from Jon!

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.  

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