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Justice Prayers - September 7, 2022

"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." - Isaiah 58:10 (NLT)

Israel says ‘high possibility’ its army killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Israel has said there is a “high possibility” that slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was “accidentally hit” by Israeli army fire but added that it would not be launching a criminal investigation. Israeli authorities released on Monday afternoon the results of their investigation into the killing. Witnesses, Al Jazeera, and numerous investigations by the United Nations, human rights groups, and media organizations have found that an Israeli soldier shot Abu Akleh. The Israeli investigation said that its soldiers had come under fire from Palestinian fighters at the scene, a claim that has not been corroborated by footage of the incident. Palestinian officials, human rights campaigners, and the family of Shireen Abu Akleh have criticised the Israeli military investigation.

God, we pray for those who risk their security to bring news from conflict zones. In particular, we pray for the family of Shireen Abu Akleh. We pray for justice, for peace, for intervention. Bind the hands of those who seek to inflict violence upon the other, O Lord. 

10 killed in Saskatchewan stabbing attacks

10 people were killed and 18 others were injured in a series of stabbings in Canada's Saskatchewan province. The attacks, which took place Sunday morning in James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, involved 13 locations, with at least 15 people being treated at hospitals, officials said at a news conference. Police announced Monday that the number of injured had risen to 18. Rhonda Blackmore, the commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, said it was one of the worst mass killings in the province's history, if not the worst. "We believe some of the victims have been targeted by the suspects, and others have been attacked randomly," she said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan said Monday night that one of the two men suspected in a wave of deadly stabbings had been found dead of wounds “not believed to be self-inflicted.”

We’re heartbroken, and in shock, Lord, at news of these horrific attacks. For the community members of the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, we pray. For Saskatchewan and Canada we pray. God, root out the violence in our hearts. For the comfort of those mourning and the repose of those lost, we pray.

Flash Flood Warnings for Eastern US, Major Heat Waves on West Coast

More than 80 million people in the eastern US were under flash flood watches late on Monday, marking still more extreme weather in a country reeling from record heat waves in some regions, as the US increasingly feels the effects of the climate crisis. In Georgia, the threat of torrential downpours became a reality Sunday afternoon, spurring a flash flood emergency in western portions of the state. The “one-in-1,000-year rainfall event” caused rivers and creeks to swell. Authorities carried out water rescues as homes and businesses were flooded; meteorologists believe that the area could see another one to three inches of rain, according to the news network. Potentially dangerous weather is not limited to the area stretching from southern Appalachia to New England. In the US west, residents are facing the possibility of power outages on Monday and early this week while temperatures continue to soar. This weekend, Salt Lake City broke its record temperature for September, hitting 103F (39.4C). Long Beach, California, peaked at 108F (42.2C), breaking a past daily high, Forbes reported. These extremes come as global heating threatens to make large portions of the US west and south – which are seeing a population boom – so hot they are unlivable.

Climate catastrophes are becoming more and more frequent, and we are ill-prepared, Lord. Yes, a climate bill commits money to reducing our emissions, but such changes don’t help vulnerable communities now. Help us to know where and how to help, Lord. Let us be our neighbor’s keeper, and to stand in the gap for all at risk from environmental harm.

Chad’s heaviest rains in 30 years leads to ‘catastrophic’ floods

Chad’s heaviest seasonal rainfall in more than 30 years has left parts of the capital N’Djamena navigable only by boat and forced thousands to flee their flooded homes over the past month, according to aid groups and the state weather agency. In N’Djamena’s eighth district, families have piled into wooden boats to cross streets that have been awash with fetid flood water since the end of July. Floods are not uncommon during the west African country’s rainy season, which usually runs from May to October in its central and southern regions. But this time, the rains came early and were more abundant, quickly overwhelming drainage channels and ponds. “The country has not recorded such a quantity of rainwater since 1990,” Idriss Abdallah Hassan, a senior official at the state weather agency told the Reuters news agency on Monday, describing the situation as catastrophic. “Entire towns have found themselves under water,” he said.

Gracious God, we pray for a drying of the land, for a clearing out of flood waters, and for all those tasked with rebuilding. For local, national, and international aid to provide immediate relief and long-term resilience to climate-related disasters, we pray. For the people of N’Djamena, their hopes, dreams, and futures, we pray.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Justice for Shireen

Read more about the death of Shireen Abu Akleh from our partners at Churches for Middle East Peace.  This blog offers practical and prayerful suggestions for how you can engage with journalistic freedom in the Middle East.  

Climate Witness Project: Request for Proposals 

The Sacred Spaces Grant project addresses two challenges: the harm caused by the climate crisis and the difficulty for low-income congregations to pay for the achievement of energy efficiency for their buildings. The urgency of the climate crisis means that low-income houses of worship need help with transitioning to more sustainable forms of heating and cooling.  You can apply to direct the project or share it with a friend at this link.

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