Posted by Mary Ann Brussat on June 10, 2019

Crop fires have become a weapon of war in Iraq and Syria. An article on Morning Ag Clips reports that farmers were looking forward to the best harvest since war began across the region, but now once golden fields of wheat and barley have been destroyed by fires presumed to have been deliberately set by fighters of the Islamic State and perhaps others. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of farmland in Hassakeh, Raqqa and all the way to Aleppo province to the west, have been burned.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 6, 2019

"One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result," observed The Washington Post on May 6, 2019. We surely have not yet run out of sit-up-and-take-notice warnings about human impact on the climate and therefore on all of life.

When I was in sixth grade, some teachers at Cayuga Heights Elementary School took it upon themselves to help us understand "one million." They printed one million x's on computer paper and posted the sheets along the ceiling of the long hallway that extended from the gym to the library. It took five minutes to walk that hallway, and gazing up at those tiny gray marks was a mind-boggling experience.

We are not talking about one million living creatures. We are talking about one million species . . .

Posted by Aizaiah Yong on April 25, 2019

News from the Phillipines reports the destruction and deaths caused by two powerful earthquakes on April 22 – 23, 2019. Monday's magnitude 6.1 quake struck Pampanga province, north of Manila, as well as the capital itself; at least five people were killed when a supermarket collapsed. Another 11 people died elsewhere and others are still missing. Tuesday's 6.4 magnitude quake centered on the Eastern Samar province.

News from Mozambique on April 25 reports Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is making a catastrophic, unprecedented strike in northern Mozambique just weeks after Tropical Cyclone Idai's catastrophic storm surge and rainfall flooding swamped parts of central Mozambique.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on April 8, 2019

According to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), as of this writing in 2019 there are 68.5 million people displaced by war and violent conflict. Our human minds and hearts are not equipped to comprehend suffering on this scale. We can, however, hear human voices one at a time, and we can empathize with images that tap into our personal comprehension of suffering.

To help us understand, we are grateful for ...

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on March 15, 2019

On March 15, 2019, we awoke to news of 49 killed and dozens injured in shooting attacks at mosques in New Zealand, which had long been considered a haven from such violence. After shock and sorrow, our immediate desire was to bring light, love, and healing to these tragic circumstances. Here are some ways to help; you can also sign this Groundswell petition to send love and solidarity to the Muslim families of New Zealand.

At such times prayers bring consolation and guidance, too. We asked Habib Todd Boerger, a 2018-19 Fellow with the Practicing Democracy Project, if he would compose a dua — a Muslim petitionary prayer — for the victims. He sent the following heartfelt response, for which we are deeply grateful.

And so we pray this news ...

Beloved Lord, Beloved God,

Here we are Lord, before you, with our hearts hurting, as yet more senseless acts of violence have taken the lives of many, and the pain of their loss ripples through their families, loved ones, communities, and across the world.

We beseech You on behalf of those who were killed — mercy, forgiveness, peace . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on November 16, 2018

As of this writing on November 16, 2018, the death toll from California's Camp Fire has risen to 63 — making it the deadliest wildfire in California history — and the list of the missing contains 631 names. It is the worst of the fires currently ravaging California, but the Woolsey Fire in Malibu and nearby areas has burned nearly 100,000 acres and hundreds of houses; the Hill Fire in Ventura County, more than 4,500 acres.

Pictures of people and animals fleeing the fires are heartbreaking; the thought of those who couldn't get away is even more so. California Governor Jerry Brown observed that "we’re in a new abnormal, and things — things like this will be part of our future. And this won’t be the beginning. It’ll be things like this and worse."

His remarks are not some dire, apocalyptic pesssimism . . .

Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on October 29, 2018

Upon hearing the heartwrenching and horrifying news of the shooting assault on the Tree of Life Jewish congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we asked Rabbi Ted Falcon of the Interfaith Amigos for a response. He immediately wrote back to share his reflections with us.

And so we pray this news ...

Blessing always calls us to the immediacy of the present moment; it is an invitation to mindfulness. In the case of hearing terrible news, we are invited to share blessing in this form:

“Blessed are You,
Eternal One our God,
Universal Presence,
the True Judge.”

Something bringing pain and suffering has occurred that is outside of our control, and we are asked to be fully present to that pain with energies of blessing.

As the consistent rhetoric encouraging greater polarization and demonization of the “Other” has flooded our country and our world . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on October 11, 2018

Image credit: Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

As of this writing in October 2018, we're facing into the devastation of the third strongest storm ever to hit the United States: Hurricane Michael, with sustained winds of 155 mph and unusually low central pressure. At least two people are dead, thousands lack power, and we're only beginning to assess the ravages to homes and businesses.

Meanwhile, the Weather Channel reports "Waterlogged Carolinas Brace for Flash Flooding, Possible Widespread Power Outages" as Michael heads north into areas that have not yet begun to recover from September's Hurricane Florence, which brought storm surges and heavy coastal and inland flooding. And the Indonesian island of Sulawesi will be reeling for years after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on September 28 left more than 2,000 confirmed dead, with as many as 5,000 more still missing. And a year after Hurricane Maria, we are still asking whether Puerto Rico can recover.

If it isn't already obvious, we could keep adding . . .

Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on October 2, 2018

On Friday, September 28, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia, triggering a tsunami with waves up to 10 feet high. Water toppled and swept away buildings in the coastal city of Palu, home to 350,000 people, on the island of Sulawesi.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has deployed a local team to the area and is conducting an assessment of medical and humanitarian needs in coordination with the Indonesian national response mechanism. The team is composed of medical, logistics, and water and sanitation specialists.

According to the official report of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 29, 2018

What we do in emergency situations speaks volumes about who we are, as 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama's courage and quick reflexes show. Upon seeing a child dangling from a fifth-storey Paris apartment balcony last Saturday (May 26, 2018), he scaled the building Spiderman-style and deftly hoisted the four-year-old to safety. Gassama's strength and flexibility alone were astonishing, but it is his complete lack of hesitation to come to the child's aid that earned him a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. President Macron offered Gassama a gold medal for "courage and devotion," French citizenship, and a job as a firefighter.

“I ran. I crossed the street to save him,” Gassama, from Mali, told Macron. “When I started to climb, it gave me courage to keep climbing.” He says God helped him, and adds “Thank God I saved him.”

And so we pray this news ...

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About This Blog

The daily news summons us to prayer. The people, situations, and events of our times call out for our compassion and God's healing presence. In this blog we will pray in a variety of forms as we lift up the needs of the world. We hope that by praying the news in this way we will also expand both our spirituality and our practice. More