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Justice Prayers - May 17, 2023

O Lord of heav'n and earth and sea,
To thee all praise and glory be!
How shall we show our love to thee,
Who givest all?

- O Lord of Heaven and Earth and Sea

Punishing Heat Wave grips Pacific Northwest as Wildfires Rage in Western Canada

A punishing heatwave will continue to cook the Pacific north-west this week, after millions of people endured a weekend of temperatures that pushed past 90F (32C) and broke early spring records in several cities. The hot, dry weather is fuelling dozens of wildfires across western Canada, where thousands have been evacuated and more than a million acres have already burned. Temperatures are dropping but forecasters with the National Weather Service warned on Monday that they would remain “between 20-30 degrees above average in the Pacific Northwest throughout this week”. The heat also exacerbated conditions where firefighters across Alberta, Canada, continue to battle 88 active wildfires, 23 of which remain listed as “out of control” by officials on Monday morning. “Unseasonably hot weather will persist over coastal BC through this week,” Canadian forecasters wrote in a special weather statement on Monday morning, warning locals that the risks of heat-related illnesses will increase with sustained elevated temperatures.

God, we pray for our neighbors in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest who are burdened with incredible heat and wildfires that threaten their livelihood. We pray for firefighters who are braving dangerous conditions to put out fires, and for medical professionals, public health officials, and each and every person working to protect the vulnerable from heat and fire.

EPA’s New Climate Rules

In the past month, an avalanche of anti-pollution rules, targeting everything from toxic drinking water to planet-heating gases in the atmosphere, have been issued by the agency. Belatedly, the sizable weight of the US federal government is being thrown at long standing environmental crises, including the climate emergency. On Thursday, the EPA’s month of frenzied activity was crowned by the toughest ever limits upon carbon pollution from America’s power sector, with large, existing coal and gas plants told they must slash their emissions by 90% or face being shut down. The measure will, the EPA says, wipe out more than 600m tons of carbon emissions over the next two decades, about double what the entire UK emits each year. But even this wasn’t the biggest pollution reduction announced in recent weeks. In April, new emissions standards for cars and trucks will eliminate an expected 9bn tons of CO2 by the mid-point of the century, while separate rules issued late last year aim to slash hydrofluorocarbons, planet-heating gases used widely in refrigeration and air conditioning, by 4.6bn tons in the same timeframe. Methane, another highly potent greenhouse gas, will be curtailed by 810m tons over the next decade in another EPA edict. The various climate rules have involved grueling preparation from an agency still considered understaffed from the Trump years and now face a gamut of challenges. The right-leaning US supreme court limited the EPA’s options for cutting power plant emissions in a ruling last year and further legal challenges from Republican-led states are inevitable.

We pray for what lies ahead given the legal challenges that these new rules might face. We pray that they might be seen by interested and open eyes who can see clearly the environmental crises that we face. Help, O Lord, all those who seek to protect our planet through policy proposals like these.

‘Chaos’, But Less Than Expected at U.S.-Mexico Border After Title 42 Expires

Two days before officials lifted the Title 42 pandemic restrictions at the southern border, President Biden gave a blunt assessment of his administration’s ability to manage the surge of migrants they expected to arrive last week. “It’s going to be chaotic for a while,” Mr. Biden predicted grimly. An initial surge of about 10,000 migrants just hours before the rule expired on Thursday put a fresh strain on already full detention facilities and shelters, and scenes of migrants, some with no place to sleep but a sidewalk, underscored the searing reality of a broken immigration system, but that was followed by a marked slowdown in migration across the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. The weekend also underscored the ability of federal authorities, local governments and private nonprofits to temporarily triage the situation. The administration sent 1,500 troops to the border to help free up more Border Patrol agents. Cities declared emergencies and opened extra shelters for migrants needing a place to sleep. Churches and other nonprofit groups received grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bolster their relief efforts. Border officials built temporary holding facilities. The administration also imposed tough new restrictions on who qualifies for asylum, a policy that has drawn fierce attacks and legal challenges from human rights groups. And officials increased the opportunities for migrants to enter the country legally, using a mobile phone app to schedule interviews with an asylum officer.

God, we pray for asylum seekers and immigrants who are making their way to the border. We pray for border communities across the 2,000 mile stretch of land who are on the receiving end of this massive migration, and finally, Lord, we pray for comprehensive policy solutions to these complex problems.

Cyclone Mocha may have killed ‘hundreds’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine

Rescue and relief efforts are under way in northwestern Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh after Cyclone Mocha crashed ashore, with one humanitarian group working in the affected area saying hundreds had been killed and some Rohingya camps destroyed. The cyclone – one of the most powerful to ever hit the region – made landfall on Sunday between Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where some one million mostly Muslim Rohingya fled after a brutal 2017 crackdown. On Monday night, Myanmar’s military regime declared conflict-hit Rakhine, which it does not fully control, a “disaster area”, after winds as strong as 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour) brought down trees and telecommunication towers and ripped roofs from buildings. “Early reports suggest that damage is extensive and needs among already vulnerable communities, particularly displaced people, will be high,” it said in an update on Monday, noting that communications with the area were difficult.

God, we pray for northwestern Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh as they grapple with the aftermath of this powerful cyclone. For the rescuers, helpers, coordinating personnel, and all those left in the path of this storm, we pray.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

The Canadian National Gathering

We are excited to welcome members of the CRC from across Canada to the Canadian National Gathering in May. Your church can be part of preparing and praying for participants.

Do Justice Podcast: Season 6 

The whole Season of the Do Justice podcast has been released.  Binge all of the episodes about “Long Obedience in the Same Direction” in this season of the podcast.

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