Sunday, October 30, 2011

Praying the News

Every day there are news stories about suffering caused by pollution or climate change. Some of these items are highlighted in posts on this blog, but many of them don’t get mentioned. I’m sharing some examples in this post and asking for prayers for the people in these situations.

The practice of praying the news was explored in an earlier post (Praying the News: Keystone XLPipeline).  For today’s post, I’m suggesting a couple of prayers from The Book of Common Prayer to frame the prayers for these particular concerns. These concerns are all related to climate change; a brief explanation with links to news stories is included for each concern in the prayer list. If others find meaning in praying the news, I’ll be posting something similar fairly regularly.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect For the Conservation of Natural Resources (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 827)

Please pray for:

People affected by floods in Thailand.  At least 381 peoplehave been killed in the worst flooding in Thailand in half a century. With the loss of rice crops, global rice prices are expected to rise, creating more hardship down the road. According to CNN, relief agencies describe a “humanitarian crisis”, with concern about water- and insect-borne diseases as well as those people in isolated areas who have been cut off for weeks without food or aid or any kind.

People in U.S. coastal areas making difficult decisions as sea levels rise.  Communities in coastal areas of the United States are considering the options as the reality of sea level rise is recognized. In south Florida, there are concerns about water supplies and existing storm drainage systems. This post from Cape Cod’s Climatide blog talks about the need to make some hard decisions soon, and people’s reluctance to do so because public officials haven’t wanted to take on the issue of sea level rise and thus give the false impression that it can’t be all that serious.

People of the Navajo Nation.  Sand dunes in the Navajo Nation are moving, a sign of the increasing aridity of the Southwest. USGS geologist Dr. Margaret Hiza Redsteer’s study of these changes “points up the vulnerability of indigenous people who live on land she calls ‘just on the edge of being habitable.’ “ Dr. Redsteer says: “The annual moisture here has historically been just enough to get by. When there is even a small change, there is a huge effect.”

People in the American Northeast who have lost power or suffered injuries or loss of property in this weekend’s record snowstorm.  Read The WeatherChannel’s account of injuries and damages. Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters puts this storm in historic perspective and discusses its connection to climate change.

As we pray for others, we might also pray for our own hearts to be open so we can see the needs in the world around us and gladly respond to those needs:

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Joy in God’s Creation (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 814)

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